Lifetime Skills Guarantee FAQ

Bookmark this Lifetime Skills Guarantee FAQ to get the latest information on how to access the funded training you may be eligible for under the UK government's landmark training initiative.

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The UK government’s landmark programme to upskill and reskill the workforce

In September 2020, the UK government announced a Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which aims to transform the training and skills system to ensure more people can gain sought-after skills and improve their career prospects.

We’ve put together this Lifetime Skills Guarantee FAQ to help you get the funded training you may be eligible for under this initiative.

We’ll continue to update this FAQ as we learn of new developments connected with the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. So bookmark this page and we’ll keep you updated with what you need to know to get the right funded training for you.

Update: In April 2021, the government provided more details on how to apply for the free level 3 qualifications.

What’s offered under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee?

Current offers under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee:

  • Free level 3 (equivalent to A-level) qualifications

  • Skills bootcamps

What’s the purpose of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee?

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee is designed to combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and help the country build back better after the pandemic. The qualifications offered under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee will be regularly reviewed to help meet future skills needs as the economy changes.

Tell me more about the Free Level 3 qualifications

What’s the free level 3 qualifications offer?

In England, adults aged 19 and over without an A-Level or equivalent qualification are offered a free, fully-funded course. This course will be a full level 3 qualification, which is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or A levels.

How much funding is available for the free level 3 qualifications offer?

£95 million from the £2.5 billion National Skills Fund.

How will studying for these free, funded courses benefit me? 

Studying for these courses will help you gain the skills and qualifications that are needed and valued by employers. This will boost your career prospects and help you earn a better wage.

When can I start studying for the courses under the free level 3 qualifications offer?

April 2021.

What courses can I study under the free level 3 qualifications offer?

Hundreds of fully funded courses are currently available in the following sector subject areas:

  • accounting and finance

  • agriculture

  • building and construction

  • business management

  • childcare and early years

  • digital

  • engineering

  • environmental conservation

  • health and social care

  • horticulture and forestry

  • manufacturing technologies

  • mathematics and statistics

  • medicine and dentistry

  • public services

  • science

  • teaching and lecturing

  • transportation operations and maintenance

  • warehousing and distribution

Some of these courses are available to study online or part-time.

We're working on uploading these courses to so you can find out more about them easily. Check back here next month or register to get updates! 

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How can I apply for the courses?

1. Find the level 3 course you are interested in.

2. Search for the colleges and training providers in your area that are able to offer free level 3 qualifications.

3. Contact the college or training provider. Check if they offer the course you’re interested in.

4. Check the admissions criteria and apply for the course.

5. If you’re accepted onto the course you will not have to pay a course fee.

Tell me more about the skills bootcamps

What’s the skills bootcamp programme?

Residents in certain areas of England are offered free, flexible courses of 12 to 16 weeks to build sector-specific skills.

How much funding is available for the skills bootcamps?

£43 million from the National Skills Fund is made available to expand the skills bootcamps in 2021.

What courses can I take in skills bootcamps?

You can take courses to develop your digitals skills such as in data analytics, digital marketing and software development. 

You can also undertake technical skills training in areas such as construction, engineering and welding.

Where are skills bootcamps available?

Skills bootcamps have been delivered in:

How do I register for a skills bootcamp?

New skills bootcamps will be announced later in the spring.

Keen to take advantage of the government’s funding for training and thinking about your next steps? Check out our article on the Top Careers to Reskill Into.

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