New Futures logo

Our flagship programme, New Futures, supported workers who were looking to change career and reskill as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This work was funded by the Covid-19 Support Fund.

The programme included three strands of work:

  1. Four place-based pilots to test potential solutions to reskilling and career change at a local level
  2. Evaluation and analysis
  3. Sharing what we learn to help shape policy and practice

About the pilots

We worked with partners across the UK to deliver four place-based pilots aimed to support workers affected by Covid-19 to reskill and change career. Pilots were delivered in Edinburgh, Belfast, Wales and Tees Valley.

The pilots were designed to reflect the needs of local labour markets and the skills of local populations, and all of them involved:

  • Tailored and targeted outreach
  • High quality careers advice and coaching
  • Practical solutions to address barriers to reskilling, such as flexible models of training deliver and help with childcare or travel costs
  • Working closely with local partners, including employers, skills and employment support services, and voluntary and community sector organisations

The pilots ran until the end of September 2023 and has been evaluated to help L&W create a robust evidence base to demonstrate to policy makers what works in supporting workers to reskill and change career.


New Futures in Belfast was led by Belfast City Council, who established a Technology Employment Academy, which trained and supported people to secure employment in the city’s growing tech sector. The Academy also helped local employers to access the skills they needed to sustain and grow their businesses. Those who successfully completed the Academy were guaranteed a job interview and received aftercare to help them achieve a positive and sustained employment outcome.

Read the latest blog from our pilot in Belfast
Read the first blog from our pilot in Belfast


New Futures in Edinburgh was led by Capital City Partnership. The pilot enabled individuals who wanted to reskill to gain entry-level qualifications in a new sector, by linking them in with a Vocational Training Academy offering courses in a variety of sectors, including health and social care, digital and creative industries, and business and financial services. Individuals who registered for these courses were guaranteed interviews with recruiting employers at the end of their course and careers advisors continued to support candidates either to find alternative suitable employment or to sustain their new job.

Read the latest blog from our pilot in Edinburgh
Read the first blog from our pilot in Edinburgh

Tees Valley

Tees Valley Combined Authority worked with local employers and established skills academies to understand current skills demands and the local labour market to ensure people were matched to available job opportunities. The aims were to test what works in supporting individuals to change career by providing intensive career coaching alongside skills training,  and supporting residents adversely affected by the pandemic into sustainable, progressive careers.

Read the latest blog from our pilot in Tees Valley
Read the first blog from our pilot in Tees Valley


New Futures in Wales was led by Chwarae Teg, who worked with training providers and the local fintech industry to support and empower women to switch careers into tech. The pilot provided a targeted and tailored training and support programme to access career pathways in the digital sector, addressing individual barriers to training and employment, such as childcare and transport.

Read the latest blog from the pilot in Wales
Read the first blog from the pilot in Wales

Read our New Futures pilots evaluation

Discover the report
Evaluation of New Futures SEO (1)

Explore our recommendations for all four UK nations

Read the report
Policy paper New Futures SEO

All change


Adult Participation in Learning Survey 2023


Learning for career change


Reskilling for career change

Briefing paper and event

Reskilling for net zero

Briefing paper and blog