Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak to announce £3 billion investment into skills and education as new T-levels revealed

Rishi Sunak will announce new T-level qualifications and £550m for adult skills in England as part of his autumn statement

Some £3 billion of investment into education set to be announced in the Budget will give people “the skills they need to earn more and get on in life”, the Chancellor has said.

Rishi Sunak is expected to give a cash injection to both post-16 education but also to adults later in life.

 At a glance: 5 key points

  • Sunak will announce the number of skills boot camps in areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and nuclear will be quadrupled.
  • While £1.6 billion will provide up to 100,000 16 to 19 year olds studying for T-levels, technical-based qualifications, with additional classroom hours
  • Some 24,000 traineeships will also be created
  • The package is expected to be part of measures announced at next week’s Budget and spending review
  • Existing colleges in England are to be allocated £830 million with extra funding for new equipment and facilities

What’s been said

Sunak said: “Our future economic success depends not just on the education we give to our children but the lifelong learning we offer to adults.

“This £3 billion skills revolution builds on our plan for jobs and will spread opportunity across the UK by transforming post-16 education, giving people the skills they need to earn more and get on in life.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi added: “We are supporting people to gain the skills they need to secure great jobs.

“Our skills reforms and this additional investment will support more people to continue to upskill and retrain throughout their lives and open the door to careers in high-skilled industries.”


The National Skills Fund will be boosted with a total investment of £550 million to quadruple the number of places on the skills boot camps, which are available for adults of any age.

Sunak will also announce the expansion of free Level 3 courses for adults, which are equivalent to A-levels, in subjects like maths, chemistry and biology.

Apprenticeship funding will also increase by £170 million to £2.7 billion in 2024/25.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, added: “We welcome any investment in education but this pledge is sketchy and appears to be limited in scope.

“Post-16 education has been woefully underfunded by the Government for many years and while T-levels will work well for some students, they are untried and untested.” A message from the editor:

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