On Friday the 3rd of September, I had the great honour of opening a new school in our city. Progress School Wolverhampton has opened its doors at The Way Youth Zone off School Street. This school is registered with the Department for Education and it will offer alternative provision for young people across our city who struggle in mainstream schooling and need extra support to help them excel.
From my own experiences in school, I understand that each person has their own way of learning. I value the contribution that providers of alternative provision make. They are integral to ensuring that young people who are permanently excluded or who would not otherwise receive suitable education are included and equipped with the skills they need to fulfil their potential.
I know that the Government is committed to helping them, having earlier in the year announced £8 million to help Alternative Provision settings help up to 11,400 Year 11 pupils make informed decisions about their options after they finish school and facilitate access into further education, training, or directly into employment.
I know that, for many reasons, people leave education prematurely. It was not until later in life that I returned to formal education. As a local MP, I want to ensure that there are more opportunities for people to return to education and learn new skills at a time that best suits them. This is at the heart of our agenda to level up opportunities and unlock our nation’s potential. To this end, I welcome the Government’s commitment to lifelong learning, training, and retraining. I was delighted when the Prime Minister announced the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and it is fantastic to see that this is already being delivered with £2.5 billion funding via the National Skills Fund.
Starting this year, over 11 million adults can gain A level-equivalent qualifications for free via the new Lifetime Skills Guarantee. The City of Wolverhampton College is offering a wide range of free courses to help local people retrain, get qualified, and advance their career. We are also moving to a system where every student will have a flexible lifelong loan entitlement to four years of post-18 education. We will make it easier for people to break up their study into segments, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study. This is part of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill.
Since 2015, more than 3000 people have started apprenticeships across Wolverhampton South West. As a local MP, I want to do all that I can to deliver more, high-quality apprenticeships and personalised careers support for local people in our city. As we recover from the outbreak of COVID-19, I want to ensure that everyone is included. That is why I am carrying out a survey to better understand the needs and aspirations of our city in the years ahead. In the meantime, I am keeping my website updated with the latest opportunities for local people.