National Retraining Scheme

The National Retraining Scheme is a new government programme that was first announced in the 2017 Budget in response to concerns about the changing jobs market, especially how automation will impact on jobs and skills in the future.

At this time the government also announced that a high-level advisory group, the National Retraining Partnership, was to be established to bring together government, the TUC and CBI. This partnership has a remit for setting strategic direction and overseeing implementation of the scheme.

In 2018 the government committed £100 million to test out and trial the new programme, including:

  • Developing and rolling out an online service – Get Help to Retrain – by trialling it in various localities and launching it nationwide in 2020
  • Developing new job-specific retraining courses for workers that will be tested out in a second phase of trials.

A government briefing on the development of the scheme to date is available on the gov.uk website and a briefing is also available on the unionlearn website.

Get Help to Retrain

The aim of this new online service is to help people to:

  • understand their current skills
  • explore alternative occupations and training opportunities to develop new skills
  • access support from a dedicated career advisor.

Users can also search for local training options and jobs as well as being able to phone an adviser to discuss their options in more detail.

The online service is currently available to eligible adults in the following 6 areas:

  • Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
  • North East Local Enterprise Partnership area
  • West Midlands Combined Authority.
  • Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership area
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Area
  • Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership area

You are eligible to access the online service if:

  • you're employed
  • you don't have a degree
  • you're aged 24 or over
  • and you're earning below £35,000 a year.

Unionlearn is encouraging union learning reps in the six areas where the online service is available to support individuals to access it via the portal on the gov.uk website.

Related initiatives

Two separate initiatives are also being taken forward as part of the National Retraining Scheme. These include a specific initiative to tackle skills shortages in the construction sector and the development of digital platforms to support flexible online access to education and training opportunities, especially for adults wishing to retrain. More information on these associated projects and earlier pilot work, is available on the gov.uk website.

An early demonstration of the online service is available below, as well as a webinar talking about the National Retraining Scheme. Please note that new features have been added to the online service since this webinar was originally produced.