In Employability and inclusion, News, Skills

Adults across the North East will be personally invited to try out a pioneering new digital service that will help more people to get on a path to a new, more rewarding career, Education Minister Kemi Badenoch has announced today (20 August).

The Get Help to Retrain digital service is the first of a series of products that will make up the Government’s landmark National Retraining Scheme, which is being developed to support adults whose jobs may change or evolve due to new technologies – such as automation and AI – to gain the skills and confidence to land a new job.

Research has revealed that up to 35% of jobs could be at risk of changing as a result of automation in the next 10-20 years with computer programmes or even robots transforming the way things are done in the workplace.

Get Help to Retrain is designed to help adults to identify their existing skills, explore types of jobs and find training courses to gain the skills they need to progress. Dedicated support is also on hand from qualified careers advisers to guide people through the process and provide expert information and advice.

People in the North East are playing a key role in supporting the early testing of the scheme as it is rolled out across England. Following a successful testing phase in the Liverpool City Region in July, where the new service was trialled, it is now available for more adults to test across the North East and the West Midlands, as well as continuing in Liverpool.

Education Minister Kemi Badenoch said: “We are developing the National Retraining Scheme to support adults across the country whose jobs could be at risk of changing or evolving as a result of new technologies to learn new skills, build their confidence and get them on the path to a new career.

“The Get Help to Retrain digital service is just the start of what will become the full National Retraining Scheme, so it’s fantastic that the North East Local Enterprise Partnership has agreed to support us in making sure it’s a success.

“We are starting off small and rolling it out in stages so we can test, refine and develop the service as we go and make sure we get it right for the people who need it.”

As the next phase of the roll out ramps up, adults will benefit from new and improved features including being able to explore a wider range of training options online and being matched to types of jobs that they may not have considered they could do with their existing skills.

Get Help to Retrain has started as a private service so it can be fully tested and developed further before being made available publicly across England in 2020.

In the North East, eligible adults – those aged 24 and over, living in the local area with a qualification below degree level and working below a certain wage threshold – will be invited to trial the new service to make sure it works for the people that need it.

The National Retraining Scheme – backed by £100 million of Government investment – is a manifesto commitment and is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy for building a country fit for the future. A series of additional products that will make up the full service are being developed and tested in parallel, before being released at different times.

The scheme is led and overseen by the National Retraining Partnership – a unique partnership between Government, the CBI and the TUC – to ensure the collective voices of businesses and employees are heard.

The National Careers Service in the North East , Liverpool City Region and West Midlands the supporting the testing of the scheme by providing qualified careers advisers to give expert information, advice and guidance to users of Get Help to Retrain.

Sarah Glendinning, CBI North East Director, said: “As our regional employment landscape changes and evolves, we need to support our local workforce to adapt. It’s therefore welcome news that the North East has been chosen as one of the first regions to be involved in the Get Help to Retrain scheme.

“It’s encouraging to see National Retraining Scheme testing rolled out in the North East.  Ensuring the UK’s workforce is fit for the future is essential to improving productivity growth. It’s the only sustainable route to higher wages and living standards.

“The world of work is changing, fast. The only way to help people adapt and learn throughout their careers is by employers and Government working together. The National Retraining Partnership should kick start a wider cross-government effort aimed at embracing the fourth industrial revolution.”

TUC Northern Secretary Beth Farhat said: “Every worker should have the opportunity to improve their skills and retrain. This is especially important as technology and automation are set to transform many industries in the North East in the coming years.

“The launch of the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme is great news. It’s the beginning of collaborative approach between government, unions and business to provide retraining to many more working people, so they are prepared for the jobs of the future. Union learning reps will play a central role helping workers access opportunities through the scheme.

“These trials are just the beginning. We look forward to helping the National Retraining Partnership develop a full programme to invest in the potential of all workers in the North East, so that our region has the skills we need for the future.”

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “As our regional employment landscape changes and evolves, we need to support our local workforce to adapt. It’s therefore welcome news that the North East has been chosen as one of the first regions to be involved in the Get Help to Retrain scheme.

“This programme will help adults in our area whose jobs could be at risk, to explore their options, develop skills and access new work opportunities. The scheme will also help to support better productivity in our region, by matching skills more closely with employers’ needs.

“Although this scheme will target a relatively small number of adults initially, we would gladly support its extension to a wider workforce in the future if it proves to be successful.”

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