In a speech yesterday, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner will announce plans to ensure everyone has access to education and training throughout their life to end skills shortages and “allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future”.

Labour is pledging to put vocational education on a par with university degrees and deliver a radical expansion of lifelong learning to make sure “no one is shut out of education”.

Labour’s plans will enable adults to return to study for free and ensure everyone has the time and support they need to study and retrain.

Labour will ensure that everyone can access education and training, throughout their life. We will:

*             Enable any adult without A-level or equivalent qualification to attend college and study for them for free;

*             Give every adult a free entitlement to six years of study for qualifications at level 4-6 (undergraduate degrees and equivalents such as Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, Foundation Degrees, Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education in areas such as rail engineering technicians, nursing associates, and professional accounting technicians);

*             Provide maintenance grants for low income adult learners to complete their courses;

*             Give workers the right to paid time off for education and training;

*             Give employers a role in designing qualifications to make sure training is equipping learners with the right skills;

*             Support workplace learning and improve basic skills by reversing cuts to the Union Learning Fund;

*             Make sure everyone has access to the information they need to return to study through a national careers advice service.

People have been held back for too long. Labour will make free education a right to ensure we have the skills we need to allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future.