To even up educational investment we need to commit to investing in lifelong learning not just paying it lip service. We need to start by creating a lifetime learning allowance. This will consist of a mixture of grants, loans, and a right to free provision.
We will offer a grant of £5,000 to the Personal Learning Accounts of every individual over 25 to train or retrain, with added loans to cover more expensive courses and maintenance costs for those who want to take courses full time (repaid in the same way as student loans). They will be available to anyone regardless of what previous funding they have received. Initially, we will trial this with those who have been made recently redundant.
Tuition and maintenance loans at Levels 4, 5 and 6, including for vocational qualifications, will be made available to all adults aged 18 or over, and available in both further and higher education.
We will address the fall in part-time and mature study over the past decade. This may include more blended learning options and a move away from three-year full-time bachelor’s degrees to a greater mix of part-time, shorter and more vocational courses. Our childcare offer will be available to those for whom caring responsibilities are a critical barrier to learning.