Deep Sea Mining: Skilled Workers

Department for Education written question – answered at on 29 June 2023.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the UK skills base to support deep sea mining.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Minister of State (Education)

The department’s skills reforms in England provide a ladder of opportunity that enables young people and adults to get good jobs and progress in their careers.

The department is building a skills system that is employer focused, high-quality and fit for the future, and is flexible enough to lead to more people completing courses that meet employers’ needs in all sectors. This ambitious skills agenda is backed by £3.8 billion of investment over this Parliament. The department is using this to expand and strengthen higher and further education, ensuring skills training is aligned to the needs of employers to enable communities to thrive and support more people to complete an apprenticeship.

The department is working with industry to shape our training offers, creating more routes into skilled employment in key economic sectors, including engineering, which may be relevant to deep sea mining.

The department’s high-quality apprenticeships are supporting people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in engineering and manufacturing. Employers in the sector can access over 150 high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs.

T Levels are strengthening vocational options for young people finishing their GCSEs. These two-year, technical qualifications are designed with relevant employers, and are equivalent in size to three A levels.

The department is delivering reforms to increase the profile, prestige and uptake of higher technical education. Central to our reforms is the introduction of Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs). HTQs are current, and new, level 4 and 5 qualifications, approved and quality-marked by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) as providing the skills demanded in the workplace by employers.

HTQ rollout is on track with 172 approved qualifications being delivered between September 2022 to September 2024. From September 2024, there will be 23 HTQs in Engineering & Manufacturing, of which courses such as mechanical and/or electrical engineering will contain relevant skills to deep sea mining.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer, which was launched in April 2021, allows eligible adults to access over 400 Level 3 qualifications, A level equivalent, for free. Qualifications are available that support workers in all sectors.

As part of our Local Skills Improvement Plan programme, which aims to better align skills provision to the needs of local employers, the North-East Chamber of Commerce have been looking at subsea engineering skills as part of their focus on the green energy sector.

High quality careers information, advice and guidance is key to helping people to make informed decisions about their future, including being able to find out about and consider the different options available to them. The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) is supporting schools and colleges to embed best practice in the delivery of careers information, advice and guidance, so that young people are aware of the full range of training and careers available to them and have access to a broad range of employers and workplaces, including those in the construction sectors. This will be delivered through the national roll-out of Career Hubs, Career Leader training, and the Enterprise Adviser Network.

The National Careers Service website gives customers access to a range of useful digital tools and resources to support them. This includes ‘Explore Careers’ which provides information on more than 130 industry areas and more than 800 job profiles, including a range of key sector careers available. Descriptions of what those roles entail, qualifications and entry routes are also included. The content team regularly researches and updates content and welcomes updates from industry to ensure content is accurate and up to date.

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