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National Retraining Scheme – small business engagement in Greater Manchester ​

In an age of fast-evolving industry and economy, the ability to retrain is more important than ever to a lasting and successful career. That is why the Government is developing the National Retraining Scheme (NRS), to equip individuals with the skills they need to redirect their careers, and secure better jobs.

The NRS will help prepare adults for the future changes to the economy, including those brought about by automation, and help them retrain into better jobs. It is part of Government’s answer to the transforming world of work, where jobs are continually changing or becoming obsolete because technological changes. The objective is to help eligible adults whose jobs are at risk of changing the support and tools they need to retrain, helping them to redirect their careers and move into a better job. It will focus in particular on adults who are aged 24+, who are in work, and who don’t have a degree.

The scheme is led and overseen by the National Retraining Partnership – a strategic partnership between the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Government. This is an innovative way of working, ensuring the collective voices of businesses and workers are heard.

The scheme is being developed and rolled out in stages, with a series of unique products being built and tested in parallel. Each part of the scheme is being rigorously tested with real people, so that we can learn and adapt to users’ needs as we go. By designing it in this way, we are ensuring that when each of our products are ready, they genuinely work for the people that need them.

The first part of the NRS service will be released shortly. This will support adults to understand their current skills, explore alternative roles or occupations, and find relevant training to unlock opportunities for a broad range of better jobs.

Technical training

We are currently exploring how technical training can be delivered through the NRS.  We have already conducted extensive user research, learning what people and businesses need from the scheme and what barriers it must help them to overcome for it to have the greatest impact. Based on this work we think that some individuals will need technical training to enable them to fulfil the requirements of their new job.  We have therefore looked at whether this could take place alongside any basic skills education during pre- recruitment, or as part of in work technical training once an individual is with a new employer.

Due to the length and intensity of the technical training needed we think that doing this in work with a new employer is a more appropriate option. We think that for some this may take the form of an apprenticeship, but our early user research showed that apprenticeships, as a vehicle for retraining, may not always the most appropriate option - for individuals or employers.  We are therefore undertaking specific user research to better understand the issues and further inform development of a technical training offer that will meet the needs of both employers and individuals.

User research

We are interested in talking to employers from the North West region and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this subject further with you.  We want to design a scheme that works for employers as well as individuals so we very much hope that you will be able to get involved.

We will be conducting our research during Oct and Nov.  We expect it to take 45 - 60 minutes and to be in a 1:1 interview.  Ideally, we would like to talk to members of your organisation who are responsible for recruitment decisions.  

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch by contacting Tina Jones via We look forward to hearing from you.