London Higher is today calling on the Department for Education (DfE) to link local skills plans to its Strategic Priorities Grant (SPG) in its response to the UK Government’s consultation the lifelong loan entitlement (LLE) from 2025.
The membership organisation – representing the largest regional grouping of universities and higher education colleges in the country – is calling for the DfE to integrate regional skills plans from across the country into the design of the LLE to provide the best chance of tackling local skills shortages and meeting the specific needs of regional economies.
As part of the plans outlined by London Higher, targeted funding from the SPG would be allocated to higher education providers within each region to incentivise them to offer provision from Levels 4 to 6 that specifically addresses local skills gaps identified by the relevant local authorities. In London, these would include the seven areas highlighted by the Mayor of London’s ‘Skills Roadmap for London’.
In its LLE consultation response, London Higher also calls for:
- regional-based agreements to be developed on credit transfer, recommending that the DfE or Office for Students (OfS) work with London Higher and its membership as an effective testing ground to ascertain how the recognition of credit could be achieved on a region-specific basis; and
- for attention to be paid to how the LLE interacts with the UK Government’s “science superpower” ambitions, recommending that the DfE and OfS engage closely with counterparts across government and research bodies to ensure future pathways into research are not closed down in an effort to protect London’s – and the wider UK’s – world-leading research and innovation base.
Commenting on the consultation, Dr Diana Beech, CEO of London Higher said;
“The Lifelong Loan Entitlement is a welcome and ambitious reform which, if we get it right, could unlock opportunities for learners at all stages and address pressing skills needs across the regions.
The geography of UK industry is diverse. That’s why we believe that skills gaps are best identified and supported at the regional level, where relevant authorities can help build a more nuanced understanding of specific local talent needs.
Our proposal to link the LLE to the Strategic Priorities Grant (SPG) and local skills plans is a sure-fire way to maximise the potential of the LLE across the regions and ensure providers are addressing local skills gaps designated as priorities by local government.”
Notes to editors:
- An embargoed copy of London Higher’s full consultation response is attached to this email.
- London Higher has also submitted a response today to the DfE consultation on Higher Education Reform, to be sent in a separate email.
- The London Higher membership represents the full diversity of London’s higher education sector, from small and specialist conservatoires and research institutes to large, multi-faculty universities. A full list of our current members is available here.
- For further information, quotes or queries, please contact London Higher CEO, Dr Diana Beech at firstname.lastname@example.org