"We have long campaigned for changes to student funding to better support flexible, part-time and adult learning. Today's announcement is an initial step in the right direction. There is a strong economic imperative to improve flexible learning, and we are pleased that the government has recognised the role that universities can play in addressing skills shortages and upskilling existing employees.
"There has been a marked decline in adult learning in recent years, and as the nation looks to recover and rebuild from the impact of Covid-19, now more than ever we need fresh thinking and policy change to help people of all ages and backgrounds to reskill and retrain.
"Many universities are ready to scale up alternatives to the traditional three-year degree, and give more people chances to study elements of a course in a 'bitesize' learning model. This would allow people to develop skills in areas such as digital, entrepreneurship, business and public sector management, which will all be likely to benefit the UK's recovery and boost local economies. It would also help those out of work in certain sectors – such as construction, engineering, and aviation – which have been hit hard by the pandemic."
Notes to editors