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Birkbeck welcomes creation of Life Skills Guarantee

The College celebrates the Government's recent announcement regarding Higher Education that will facilitate lifelong learning.

Birkbeck Malet Street Campus
Birkbeck's Malet Street campus

Birkbeck, University of London has welcomed the Government’s announcement (Tuesday 29 September) that it will make higher education more flexible to facilitate lifelong learning and to make it easy for adults and young people to break up their study into segments, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study.

The College, which was set up nearly 200 years ago to educate working Londoners, has a long track record in providing flexible short and part-time higher education courses, alongside its full-time provision. The vast majority of its tuition is in the evenings, enabling students to reskill or upskill, whilst they work during the day. 

Birkbeck welcomed the announcement that higher education loans will be made more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetime, take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future.

It welcomed the creation of a four-year lifelong learning allowance that students can use to fund studies on different courses at different institutions at any time during their adult life.

It also welcomed the announcement that the Government will provide finance for shorter-term studies, so that students do not have to study in one, three, or four-year blocks. 

Professor David Latchman, Vice Chancellor of Birkbeck, University of London said: “It is vital that we not only equip young school leavers with the skills they need for work but we also provide opportunities for those who have lost their jobs or who are underemployed because of COVID-19 to retrain so that they have the skills that are needed to help rebuild the economy. 

“I am delighted that the Government has announced its intention to make higher education loans more flexible. The traditional focus of most universities on providing courses in one, two, three, or more year blocks of day-time provision, along with complex rules about loans to cover course fees have, until now, acted as a barrier to retraining and reskilling.

“I am pleased that adults will be able to access a four-year lifelong learning allowance to support their studies on different courses at different institutions. Birkbeck enjoys good relationships with further education colleges across the capital and is experienced at supporting students to progress from further to higher education courses, as well as to do foundation and other courses, that allow them to progress onto degrees.

“This term, Birkbeck is building on its vast experience of delivering short higher education courses by launching Birkbeck Bitesize, a range of high quality, short courses that will support people to reskill and upskill. I look forward to seeing further details about the flexible higher education loans and ensuring that they support people to retrain via these short courses, as well, as allow people to access loans to cover courses that are at the same level or lower than qualifications that they already have.”

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