Covid: PM promises ‘radical’ shake-up of adult education :

Boris Johnson has vowed “radical” changes to the education system in England to help boost the post-Covid economy.

The prime minister said the pandemic had “massively accelerated” changes to the world of work, and made training gaps “painfully apparent”.

He said funding changes could help end the “bogus distinction” between academic and practical learning.

Labour said the plans would not reverse the impact of “a decade of cuts”.

Speaking in Exeter, Mr Johnson said there was not “anywhere near enough” support for people who don’t attend university.

He added that the government cannot “save every job” amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but wants to help people find new work.

The prime minister announced that adults in England without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a fully funded college course.

Funding for courses offering “skills valued by employers” will be made available from next April, and a full list of the courses will be announced next month.

The announcement comes amid fears that unemployment is set to grow, as the economy slumps in the wake of the pandemic.

Mr Johnson said the pandemic had “compressed” a “revolution” to the jobs market caused by trends such as online shopping.

He added that although some jobs would fall away after the pandemic, he wanted people to take advantage of “new opportunities are opening up with dizzying speed”.
The PM’s speech comes as:

It will be illegal from midnight for people in large parts of north-east England to mix with other households indoors, as part of tougher coronavirus restrictions announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The number of people worldwide who have died from Covid-19 passes one million, researchers say, with many regions still reporting surging numbers of new infections.

Conservative backbenchers demanding votes in Parliament before any further coronavirus restrictions are introduced in England say they are hopeful an agreement can be reached with the government. Some MPs were invited to meet Matt Hancock on Tuesday, and said last night that progress was being made.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is due to make a statement in the House of Commons later as thousands of students have been told to self-isolate following a surge in cases at universities.

Retail union Usdaw says shop workers are being put at greater risk of violence, verbal abuse and coronavirus infection as a result of pubs shutting at 10pm.

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