Independent Commission announces plans for up to £9,000 in lifelong learning grants

Last summer, Vince Cable set up a commission to look at how to support life-long learning. As he’d said in his first party conference speech as leader:

As a country we have systematically undervalued and disrespected the 60% of young people who do not go to university, and the 80% of adults who never went…

One idea I want to develop with you – with the party – is finding a way to support all young people in future with an endowment or learning account, which they can use at any stage in life – helping to finance further or higher education, either at the post-18 stage or later in life. It is a fundamentally liberal idea, handing control to the individual, and I want to explore how it can be sustainably financed through fair taxation of wealth.

That commission has now reported:

The Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning, which was convened by Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, has today set out a vision for a ‘new era of learning throughout life’ with proposals for government grants of up to £9,000.

The grants, which would be invested into universal Personal Education and Skills Accounts (PESA), are designed to encourage saving towards the costs of education and training throughout life.

The proposals would see the Government make three contributions each worth £3,000 to the accounts when individuals turn 25, 40 and 55.

The Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning developed the proposals over the past year. The Commission’s members are all leading education experts.

Rajay Naik, Chair of the Commission, said:

“Given the unquestionable forces of globalisation and automation, we are entering a period where we will have multiple careers, let alone multiple jobs during our lives. The need to retrain and reskill for roles that do not yet exist will only grow and therefore for individuals and our country to succeed a culture of lifelong learning is vital.

“This requires bold action and giving individuals greater power over their learning and development. Our proposals, which enjoy widespread support from a wide spectrum of politicians and organisations, see existing funds redeployed to allow greater access to learning. It will ensure that people have access to advice and guidance about what the best opportunities are for them and gives them greater control over their future.

“We hope that the Government considers these proposals in full and begins the necessary work to give individuals greater access to learning and thereby boost competitiveness.”

Leader of Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, added:

“I warmly welcome this credible and compelling set of proposals from the Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning. Giving opportunities to access education and training which continue throughout adulthood, is a vital part of ensuring we have a highly skilled workforce, and that individuals are able to access fulfilling employment throughout their lives.

“I am hugely grateful to Rajay Naik and his Commission for the diligent and determined work they have done to arrive at these detailed recommendations. I am particularly persuaded about account top-ups being staggered throughout adult life and the opportunity for individuals, business and other groups to diversify the range of investment beyond Government.

“Liberal Democrats have always been committed to ensuring that education is accessible to all and I welcome the fact that these reforms would ensure that no one, irrespective of their background, is restricted in their opportunities to succeed.”

One response to “Independent Commission announces plans for up to £9,000 in lifelong learning grants”

  1. I trust the party will get publicity for this idea and that it is not swallowed up others claiming the credit.

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