An Open Letter to Sir Keir Starmer

Congratulations on becoming Prime Minister – now the real work begins.

Upskill the Workforce to Boost Productivity

If you are serious about growing the economy, you need to tackle productivity – and one of the best ways is to upskill the workforce. But it needs to be done quickly – the country cannot wait three years for a new set of graduates (or even 18 months for Apprentices to qualify).

I did my qualifications over 30 years ago in ‘night school’ at an FE College in a class of 30. A few years later I was ‘giving back’ by teaching in the same College. By the time I left FE (to teach at University) there were no night classes. Now professional qualifications are mainly delivered by private providers and we have to charge 20% VAT. Why are we taxing people who want to retrain or better themselves?


Recommendation Action
Scrap VAT on training courses Remove the 20% VAT on professional training courses to encourage more people to retrain and upskill.
Part-fund professional qualifications Provide partial funding for short courses, allowing individuals to claim back half the cost upon certification.
Scrap the equal or lesser qualifications rule Allow funding for lower-level qualifications than those individuals already possess to facilitate career changes.
Allow employers to use the levy for Professional Qualifications Permit the use of the levy to fund Ofqual-recognized qualifications, spreading best practices across industries.

Detailed Recommendations

Scrap VAT on Training Courses

Scrap VAT on training courses.

You need to do more – and do it quickly. Why not part-fund people to do short courses (like the CIM Award in AI Marketing) which will quickly help them do their job better? Allow them to claim back half the cost when they receive their certificate. Then you will know that they’ve achieved something worthwhile.

Part-fund Professional Qualifications

Very few people carry on in the same career all their working lives but, if they want to change career, the funding block on lower-level qualifications than those they already have may prevent them from retraining. As the world of work changes, more people will need to retrain.

Scrap the Equal or Lesser Qualifications Rule

Finally, allow employers to use the levy to fund Ofqual recognized qualifications, not just Apprenticeships. Professional qualifications are a measure of quality and validity and many are recognized worldwide. Allowing employers to fund these important qualifications will spread ‘best practice’ throughout industry.

Allow Employers to Use the Levy for Professional Qualifications

These changes can be done quickly and the improvements will be seen in months, not years.