When the UK goes to the polls on July 4th, the Labour party is expected to win the election by a large margin. A labour government would likely mean a significant shift in the UK’s regulatory priorities. What does the Labour party have planned in the area of higher and further education and what does this mean for the higher education sector?

Labour has promised to establish high-quality apprenticeships and specialist technical colleges, as well as implement a modern curriculum so young people are ready for work and life.

In addition, the party has pledged to reform further and higher education. Here are their key promises for skills, training and education:

  • Bring forward a comprehensive strategy for post‐16 education
  • Guarantee training, an apprenticeship, or help to find work for all 18- to 21-year-olds
  • Establish Skills England to coordinate business, training providers, unions, and government to ensure a highly trained workforce
  • Devolve adult skills funding to Combined Authorities for greater local control
  • Transform Further Education colleges into specialist Technical Excellence Colleges
  • Reform the Conservatives’ Apprenticeships Levy into a flexible Growth and Skills Levy
  • Continue to support the aspiration of every qualified person who wants to go to university
  • Improve access to universities and raise teaching standards
  • Create a secure future for higher education and the opportunities it creates across the UK
  • Establish a youth guarantee of access to training, an apprenticeship, or support to find work for all 18- to 21-year-olds
  • Guarantee two weeks’ worth of work experience for every young person
  • Improve careers advice in schools and colleges

What does this mean for the higher education sector?


Labour has shifted away from the pledge to “abolish” tuition fees and now are talking about “reforming” them. The reason, as explained by Shadow Education Bridget Phillipson in an Times article is that while Labour wants higher education to be available to everyone ,the economic situation would not allow them to abolish fees altogether. Free tuition, funded by general taxation, would further increase the financial burden on working people. They do pledge to reform the system to make it fairer, including reworking the system to give a month-on-month tax cut for graduates, which would allow for some “breathing room”. However, the party would need to find the funding elsewhere, which will not prove easy. Additionally, Labour would face significant pressure from the universities, who are themselves in difficult financial situations, if they were to reduce the amount graduates pay back,and if they retain the tuition fee cap.

Skills based approach: 

Labour have emphasised the need to work with universities and help support them, as they in turn have the capacity to boost the nation’s economy A key part of this is the importance of developing young people’s vocational skills through higher education. Last year’s Council of Skills Advisers report, led by former education secretary Lord Blunkett, called for degree apprenticeships to be significantly expanded, and higher education institutions to integrate more project-based learning and employer engagement into their provision.

Student mental health: 

Research done by the party in 2022 showed that more than 200,000 students sought support for their mental health across the UK in 2020/21, which was a three-fold increase over the last decade. The party has pledged to increase young people’s access to mental health support by reducing wait time for support to 4 weeks and aiming to recruit 8,500 mental health staff by the end of their first parliament, and universities and higher education may become a key frontier in this work.

Higher and further education compliance training

Universities are under immense pressure to address a multitude of compliance issues. Data breaches, cyberattacks, plagiarism fuelled by advancements in AI, and sexual harassment are just some of the ongoing concerns facing administrators.

VinciWorks has recently released a comprehensive library of eLearning courses designed specifically for the higher and further education sector. This extensive library covers a wide range of topics critical to a safe and secure learning environment, including Creating a Speak-Up Culture, Recognising Phishing Scams, Plagiarism in the Age of AI, Preventing Extremism, Sexual Misconduct at Universities, How to be an Ally, and many more.

Compliance and the UK General Election – Special Webinar

Every sector could be impacted and every area of compliance is likely to be reviewed by the next government. From overhauls of financial services regulation, reviews of data protection law, closer alignment with EU regulations and an expansion of health and safety protections, the next parliament will see compliance at the centre of the regulatory agenda.

With everything from whistleblowing reform to overhauls of corporate governance, new employment rights like menopause leave and expanded equal pay rules, alongside crackdowns on tax evasion and expansion of the money laundering regulations, organisations large and small should prepare for the outcome of the general election.

This webinar will cover:

  • What the main parties are pledging on key compliance areas
  • Potential changes to legislation including the Equality Act, sexual harassment and employment rights
  • Expected legislation on AML, bribery, sanctions, fraud and economic crime
  • Possible expansion of regulations around GDPR, AI and health and safety
  • Preparing your organisation for future regulatory changes and new requirements