Workers who lose their jobs because of the Covid-19 lockdown will be given apprenticeships to retrain as builders, plumbers and in other essential trades, Boris Johnson will announce on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister will also offer free A-level courses to any adult who does not have an A-level or similar qualification as part of a drive to "build back better" after the pandemic.
But Boris Johnson is likely to face criticism from people who have only lost their jobs because of Government policies that prevented them from being able to work.
Mr Johnson will set out a "Lifetime Skills Guarantee" in a speech in the South-West, in which he will say that digital "boot camps" will also be provided for workers to catch up on the latest technology.
"As the Chancellor has said, we cannot, alas, save every job. What we can do is give people the skills to find and create new and better jobs," he will say. "So my message today is that, at every stage of your life, this Government will help you get the skills you need."
Mr Johnson (seen in the video below announcing his 'New Deal' spending plan this summer) will say that ministers are "transforming the foundations of the skills system so that everyone has the chance to train and retrain".
The move is a long-term strategy by the Government to support jobless people after the furlough scheme comes to an end in October, with some predictions suggesting that unemployment could rise to four million next year.
Writing for The Telegraph, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, said: "In this country we suffer from high skills shortages in technical trades – we don't have enough builders, plumbers or pipe-fitters. Just to put this into perspective, our productivity levels are only four per cent higher than they were in 2008.
"To build back better from the pandemic we will need a lot more people with these vital skills.”
Mr Williamson said that the UK was "bursting with talent, but it does not always go hand-in-hand with opportunity".
Some Tory MPs have argued that opportunities have been denied to workers (the graphic below shows the pandemic has caused the biggest quarterly drop in hours worked on record) because of the strict lockdown policies pursued by the Government, which have forced nightclubs, theatres and other businesses to shut down indefinitely.
Mr Johnson will set out plans for flexible loans to enable mature students to take courses in segments, while the current entitlement to free A-level teaching, or level three qualifications, will be extended from the under-23s to people of all ages.
To qualify, workers must take courses that are valued by employers, with a list of eligible courses to be published next month. Employers who take on apprentices are already being given £2,000 for every under-25 worker and £1,500 for new apprentices aged over 25.
Mr Johnson will say that additional funds are to made available to small and medium-sized businesses to take on more apprenticeships.
The Government has made £2.5 billion available through the National Skills Fund to get people back into the workforce after Covid-19, as well as giving those already in work the chance to train for higher-skilled, better-trained jobs through a system of loans.
In 2000, over 100,000 people were doing Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, but that has fallen to fewer than 35,000 now, according to Government figures. The number of people doing foundation degrees has declined from 81,000 to 30,000.
As a result, only 10 per cent of adults hold a Higher Technical Qualification as their highest qualification, compared to 20 per cent in Germany and 34 per cent in Canada.
The Government will spend £8 million on digital skills boot camps following pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. From next year, boot camps will be extended to sectors including construction and engineering, enabling jobseekers to get their technical skills fully up to date on intensive courses.