Manifesto Policy Explainer Education and skills policy

With skills shortages continuing to hold back businesses across the UK, plans for the skills system are a key election battleground.

What are the implications for education and skills policy?


  • Establish ‘Skills England’ to bring together business, training providers, and unions with national and local government to ensure that training accounts for the needs of the labour market.
  • Devolve adult skills funding to Combined Authorities to give local leaders greater control of skills development in their areas.
  • Replace the Apprenticeship Levy with a Growth and Skills Levy which gives Levy-paying businesses more flexibility to spend funds on a broader set of courses.
  • Guarantee two weeks’ worth of work experience for every young person.


  • Fund 100,000 high-quality apprenticeships for young people, paid for by curbing the number of ‘poor-quality’ university degrees.
  • Introduce the Advanced British Standard to replace A Levels and T Levels. The ABS would remove the divide between academic and technical education and require all students to study English and maths to 18.

Liberal Democrats:

  • Replace the apprenticeship levy with a broader and more flexible skills and training levy.
  • Create Lifelong Skills Grants for adults to spend on education and training throughout their lives.
  • Strengthen careers advice and links with employers in schools and colleges.

Reform UK:

  • Restrict undergraduate numbers below current levels and ensure that two-year university degrees are an option.
  • Give tax relief to businesses which undertake apprenticeships.

Green Party:

  • Invest £12.4bn in skills and training to equip workers to play a full role in the green economy.

You can read the IoD’s Manifesto for Business here.

About the author

image of Alex Hall-Chen

Alex Hall-Chen

Principal Policy Advisor for Sustainability, Employment, and Skills at the IoD

Alex Hall-Chen is Principal Policy Advisor for Sustainability, Employment, and Skills at the IoD. She previously worked in education research and as a Policy Advisor at the CBI. She holds a BA in Politics and Sociology from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford, and is a school governor for the Thinking Schools Academy Trust.

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