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Abstract:

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CEP Occasional Paper
Lifelong Learning
Richard Layard and Hilary Steedman
December 1995
Paper No' CEPOP09:
Full Paper (pdf)

'The main proposals in this paper have a highly focussed aim: to prevent the continuation in Britain of an increasingly depressed group of under-skilled workers. The main intention is to ensure that all 16-19 year olds and as many adults as possible achieve at least Level 2 qualifications. For 16-19 we should require traineeships for all young people not in full-time education. Trainees would get at least one day a week off-the-job vocational education for a part-time GNVQ. The Further Education Funding Council which already organises and funds most of vocational education (over ten times more than the TECs) should be responsible for the delivery of this. The Careers Service should be strengthened to monitor and help all youngsters, and the TECs should supervise the delivery of traineeships in firms. Firms should recieve tax rebates for taking on trainees, even if the trainee wage was controlled by law. This far-reaching change would require half a million extra places in colleges.

The vocational education of adults (for (G)NVQ2 and 3 or part-time first degrees) should, like full-time academic education up to first degree level, be free to the student. The state should pay the fees. This would stimulate uptake. But in addition employers should be offered tax rebates for the paid leave of workers studying for (G)NVQ2. These proposals would cost around £2 billion. This could be funded by progressively replacing student maintenance grants by loans (repaid in relation to the student's subsequent income) and by shifting student loan finance outside the PSBR. Alternatively they could be financed by a Training Levy, by general taxation, or by borrowing, where up to £15 billion can be borrowed without increasing the ratio of public debt to GDP. At a later stage one could also consider requiring all students to pay some fraction of the fee. The Learning Bank should provide loans to enable any adult to finance maintenance while studying. The University for Industry would develop teaching packages for use by colleges and by its own distance learning systems (mainly for adults). Its packages would help to ensure quality but also to control cost.'