In a speech launching a new government retraining programme, Boris Johnson predicted that a swathe of hi-tech businesses will offer new roles as many traditional jobs – particularly in retail and hospitality – are lost. And he pledged to end the “bogus” gulf between university and vocational education in a massive overhaul of skills training for workers.
Addressing students at Exeter College, he said: “We cannot save every job but what we can do is give everybody, give people the skills to find and create new and better jobs.”
He added: “As old types of employment fall away, new opportunities are opening up with dizzying speed – vast new sectors in which this country already leads or can lead.”
Mr Johnson announced a Lifetime Skills Guarantee that will offer further education courses in new employment skills to adult workers wanting to retrain.
He also promised to expand the availability of apprenticeships and committed £8billion to setting up intensive training programmes in digital skills.
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He said: “Now is the time to end the pointless, snooty, and frankly vacuous distinction between the practical and the academic.”
The country’s education system needed “radical change”.
He said: “We seem on the one hand to have too few of the right skills for jobs our economy creates, and on the other hand too many with degrees which don’t get them jobs that they want.