At Education questions, Richard raised the issue of lifetime learning and skills following a major policy announcement by the Government last week.
One of the first major piece of levelling-up legislation from the Government is the lifetime skills guarantee.
Crucially, this policy lifts the age limit on when people can get their first 'level 3' (that's an A-Level, T-Level or BTEC to you and me) funded by taxpayers.
Many people across the country left school at 16 or later without a Level 3 qualification and until this policy was announced you had to pay for it yourself if you didn't get one by the age of 23. The Government are now lifting that restriction as well as putting a huge amount of extra funding into capital spending for our Further Education Colleges.
Why is this so important? Well, the Augar Review - a recent major review into both Higher and Further Education - pointed out that the biggest discrepancy in lifelong earnings for people isn't actually between your average person who has gone to University, versus someone who went into work after age 18 with a level 3 qualification. But in fact the real gap in between those who don't have an Level 3 (or higher, ie a degree) and those without one.
For many North West Durham constituents, and in fact lots of people others in areas of the country which have historically lower educational attainment, this is a major opportunity for the future and a real policy that will level-up people's earning and opportunities.
Lots of people don't do well at school for a huge number of reasons but everyone deserves an opportunity later in their 20s or 30s or later to get the qualifications they need to progress for themselves and their family, and potentially to earn more and have the opportunities for further advancement.
Richard Holden MP said:
"This announcement marks a major moment in our whole approach to education as a country. For too long, those who didn't go to university were forgotten. This policy will mean potential transformational change in the lives of people up and down our great country. It gives people the opportunity, at any age, especially those who left school without great qualifications to get that step up they need to help do better for themselves and their families. Everyone deserves the opportunity to make the most of themselves and their talents and this announcement is a major step in that direction and one I am proud to support."