Mind the skills gap!

Britain has lost its way when it comes to skills, training and higher and further education. There is now a huge gap between the workforce we have and the skills we need to build back better after the pandemic and beyond Brexit. Government has announced big plans to fill that gap in the recent Queen’s Speech.

A third (34 per cent) of working age graduates are not in high skilled employment and many are asking what return they have secured on an expensive three or more years at university. At the same time, in 2019 employers were unable to fill a quarter of all vacant positions (214,000 vacancies) because they could not find people with the right skills. Skills shortages account for 36 per cent of all construction vacancies, and 48 per cent of all Manufacturing and the Skilled Trades vacancies.

In short, the current training and education regime isn’t fit for purpose. It isn’t delivering the right training that young adults need to fulfil their potential, and it isn’t delivering for employers or the economy if we want to see rapid economic growth now and in the future. Government must act.

To address this mismatch between the skills needed and the training of individuals, the government announced a new approach, with a new law, new priorities, and new funding. Forthcoming legislation will support a lifetime skills guarantee to enable flexible access to high quality education and training throughout people’s lives, not least so that the population can reskill and retrain as employment needs change in future.

Government promises that its new approach will:

  • Transform post-16 education and training, make skills more readily available and get more people into work as set out in the Government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper.
  • Enable people to access flexible funding for Higher or Further Education, bringing Universities and Further Education colleges closer together, and removing the bias against technical education.
  • Deliver the Prime Minister’s new Lifetime Skills Guarantee, as part of our blueprint for a post-16 education system that will ensure everyone, no matter where they live or their background, can gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives.
  • Increase productivity, support growth industries and give individuals opportunities to progress in their careers.
  • Strengthen the powers of the Office for Students to take action to address low quality higher education provision.

Whitehouse Communications will be engaging with government and parliament at every stage of the proceedings on the Bill and across the full range of policy developments.

Political Consultancy

The Whitehouse Communications team are experts in providing public affairs advice and political consultancy to a wide range of clients, especially skills and training providers, not only in the United Kingdom, but also across the member states of the European Union and beyond. For more information, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at chris.whitehouse@whitehousecomms.com.

More on skills training can be found here.