Adults in England without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a fully funded college course, the government has announced.
The offer will be available from April and applies to courses offering “skills valued by employers”.
In a speech today, the PM will say the government cannot “save every job” amid the coronavirus pandemic, but wants to help people find new work.
Labour said the plans would not reverse the impact of “a decade of cuts”.
The government decision comes amid fears that unemployment is set to grow sharply.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has said the unemployment rate could peak at between 9.7% to 13.2% in the next few years. The most recent rate – for May to July – is 4.1%.
The offer of courses to adults without an A-level will be paid for through the National Skills Fund topped up with £2.5bn, the government said.
A full list of available courses will be announced next month.
The government added it wanted to make higher education loans more flexible, with the aim of letting people “space out” their learning throughout their lives rather than in three- or four-year blocks, enabling more part-time study.
It said the changes would be backed by investment in college buildings and facilities, including more than £1.5bn in capital funding.
Further details will be set out in an education white paper later in the year.