August 30, 2020

About the scheme

The national retraining scheme is the government’s new programme to help adults retrain into better jobs, and be ready for future changes to the economy, including those brought about by automation.

By helping adults to retrain into better jobs, the scheme will also help to meet the needs of businesses for a multi-skilled workforce in the future.

To support the development of the scheme, the government announced £100 million in the autumn budget 2018. This is for the continued testing and development of the scheme, as well as delivering the first parts of the scheme to the public.

During its testing phase, the first part of the scheme, Get help to retrain, is available to eligible adults in 6 areas across England. This part of the scheme will be available to people and businesses across England in 2020.

The scheme is part of the government’s industrial strategy to improve productivity and build a country that works for everyone.


The scheme will initially support adults who:

  • are already in work
  • are aged 24 and over
  • do not have a qualification at degree level
  • are paid below a certain wage threshold – this threshold will be tested with people earning low to medium wages as we develop the scheme

We’re investing in this group of people first as they:

  • have comparatively less access to existing government support
  • are most in need of adapting their skills so they can take advantage of new opportunities

Get help to retrain – the first part of national retraining scheme – is currently available to eligible adults in 6 areas across England, while it is still being tested.

Adults who are eligible, but don’t live in one of these areas, will be able to access the service when it is rolled out across England in 2020. In the meantime, additional information, advice and guidance can be provided by the National Careers Service.

Why we need the scheme

We’re introducing the national retraining scheme to respond to:

  • the changing nature of jobs and the types of tasks people do at work
  • the need for a multi-skilled workforce to take on new and emerging jobs as business needs change
  • new opportunities that the future economy will bring

Some of the things we’ve also considered are:

  • how the automation of many jobs will lead to new opportunities and challenges
  • fewer adults undertaking training despite the range of opportunities currently available
  • the barriers to retraining, which include:
    • the financial cost
    • poor fit between availability of training and working patterns
    • previous poor experience of education
  • low productivity growth in the economy – which the scheme aims to address by improving skills, and helping people and businesses to take advantage of new technology
  • longer working lives – as people work longer there will be a greater need to:
    • adapt to changes in the economy
    • consider new careers during their working lives

What the scheme will include

The national retraining scheme aims to:

  • support people already in work to move into better jobs through training and tailored advice
  • complement existing training programmes for adults
  • encourage people to develop their flexibility and resilience in the world of work, so they can take advantage of new opportunities

The scheme will include a range of services to support people while they train and look for jobs.

It will provide:

  • tailored advice and guidance from a qualified adviser
  • functional skills training, initially focusing on English and maths
  • flexible online and blended learning, a mix of online and face-to- face provision, enabling more adults to access training
  • in-work vocational training, learnt on the job

Get help to retrain

Get help to retrain is the first part of the national retraining scheme, which we began rolling out in July 2019. It’s a digital service that will help people to:

  • understand their current skills
  • explore alternative occupations and training opportunities to develop new skills
  • access support from a dedicated adviser

It breaks down the process of getting a better job into manageable steps, and helps adults build upon skills they may not have known they had, to secure a better working future.

We’ve been continually reviewing the Get help to retrain service since it was launched in July 2019. We are adding new features and upgrades, based on feedback from the people using it, so that it will:

  • work better for the people who’ll use it
  • help people develop the skills employers say they’ll need

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.

The job matching feature also incorporates data on recent growth in each occupation, along with the strength of a person’s match with the skills required for job roles.

The article Designing a retraining scheme that meets the needs of the people using it, from the DfE digital and transformation blog, explains the approach we’re using to develop the service.

We will continue to add further upgrades and new features to the service, as we roll out to more areas across England.


The service is available to adults who are eligible in these areas:

  • the Liverpool city region
  • North East local enterprise partnership area
  • West Midlands combined authority areas
  • the Leeds city region local enterprise partnership area
  • the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority area
  • the Heart of the South West local enterprise partnership area

If you are eligible, or know someone who is, find out if Get help to retrain could help you get started on the path to a better job.

In 2020, Get help to retrain will be available across England.

Source: (click any of the links above to get to the relevant pages)

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