Adult Retraining Scheme Launches in the Heart of the South West


  • Adults across the Heart of the South West have access to the Get Help to Retrain service so they can take the first step towards a more prosperous career
  • The pioneering service aims to support adults whose jobs are at risk of digital transformation to retrain and secure a new and improved role
  • The online service – which forms part of the National Retraining Scheme – aims to future proof the country’s workforce and boost skills nationwide

Adults across the Heart of the South West are set to benefit from a pioneering new service to help future proof their careers, Education Minister Michelle Donelan has announced today (16 October).

The Get Help to Retrain service is just the one of a series of products that will make up the National Retraining Scheme, which is being developed to support eligible adults whose jobs could be at risk of changing due to new technologies, such as an AI and automation, to retrain and kick start a new career

The service helps adults to identify their existing skills, explore different types of job opportunities and find training courses to gain the skills they need to progress. Dedicated support is also on hand from qualified careers advisers to guide people through the process and provide expert information and advice.

Get Help to Retrain is now available in six major cities and regions across England after being successfully trialled in the West Midlands, North East and the Liverpool City Region. Eligible adults living in the Heart of the South West– those aged 24 and over, qualified below degree level and who are working below a certain wage threshold – can now try the service out for themselves and help to test and improve it further by visiting

Education Minister, Michelle Donelan, said:

“The world of work is changing fast, which is why we are developing the National Retraining Scheme to help prepare adults whose jobs may change as a result of new technology to thrive in the roles of the future.

“The Get Help to Retrain digital service is just the first step. We are rolling the service out gradually, testing and learning as we go.  The good news is that the service is now available for eligible adults across the Heart of the South West to try out for themselves and help us make sure we get it right for those who need it.”

Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said:

“We welcome the opportunity to roll out this new scheme which will help our workforce keep up with the demands of an increasingly digital and automated future and the changing needs of local employers. The Get Help to Retrain service aims to support people by helping them to understand and develop their skills so that new and better jobs are within their reach. It’s particularly relevant for our area, because the Heart of the South West has a larger proportion of an ageing population than most areas of the country – so it’s important to ensure that the experience of these valuable employees is harnessed and nurtured to improve productivity and prosperity for all.”

Nigel Costley, South West Regional Secretary, TUC, said:

 “All workers should have the chance to retrain and improve their skills. And this will be key as the labour market undergoes the transformation of new technology and automation in the coming years.

“The launch of this new phase of the National Retraining Scheme and its collaborative approach is good news. It will help to open up retraining to many more working people – preparing them for the jobs of the future.

“Union learning reps will play a crucial role in supporting workers to access advice and retraining opportunities available through the scheme.

“The challenge for the National Retraining Partnership is to develop a national programme that invests in the potential of all workers, delivering the skills we need for the growth sectors of the future.”

Deborah Fraser, CBI South West Director, said:

“Seeing the Get Help to Retrain digital service rolled out to the South West is promising news. Ensuring people’s skills are fit for the future is an essential part of improving productivity growth, wages and living standards up and down the country.

“As the world of work changes rapidly, the best way to help people access the high-quality training they need to succeed is by Government and employers working together.  And once the National Retraining Scheme is well underway, it should kick start wider cross-government efforts to embrace technology in the workplace.”

Following extensive user testing, adults accessing the service will benefit from new and improved features such as a more advanced skills matching tool to help them identify potential new job roles, and the ability to save their progress and return to their results.

Get Help to Retrain is being rolled out in stages so that it can be fully tested and developed further, before being made available nationwide in 2020. A series of additional products that will make up the full National Retraining Scheme service are being developed and tested in parallel, before being released at different times.

The National Retraining Scheme – backed by £100 million of Government investment – is led and overseen by the National Retraining Partnership – a unique partnership between Government, the CBI and the TUC – to ensure the collective voices of businesses and employees are heard.

The National Careers Service is supporting the testing of the scheme in the six areas by providing qualified careers advisers to give expert information, advice and guidance to users of Get Help to Retrain.