“Skills needs must drive reform”


CBI/Pearson’s 2017 Education and Skills Survey highlights the need for major skills reforms to focus on delivering quality training, not just quantity.

The survey also reveals that while 75% of businesses expect their need for high-skilled roles to increase in the coming years, 61% believe there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill them.  

In consulting 344 companies, the survey concludes that 62% believe that demand for appropriately skilled candidates is the most widespread cause of skills shortages, closely followed by the 55% who report a lack of candidates with appropriate qualifications. 

The survey also asked about the impact of the new £2 billion Apprenticeship Levy, introduced in April of this year. In response, 58% of companies said they plan to increase apprenticeship training programmes. But with 63% of respondents planning to reconfigure existing training as part of their levy commitment, it’s unclear how much of the provision is new. 

Many businesses are struggling to fill apprenticeship places, with almost half of respondents expecting to, or already experiencing difficulty in recruiting apprentices.

The CBI/Pearson study also notes the ‘overwhelmingly poor’ quality of careers advice given to young people, with 84% of companies citing that the quality and consistency is inadequate. Half of businesses believe there is a lack of awareness among young people of education routes to enter particular careers and that careers advice is poorly aligned to the sectors, leading directly to skill shortages.

Conversely, 81% report that they have links to schools and are actively engaging to help support children and young people.

Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said “Skills have to be the beating heart of the UK’s Industrial Strategy - it’s the best growth strategy a country can have. More high-skilled opportunities are good news for our future – and a sign we can make progress on productivity - but this is tempered by the growing urgency around skills shortages.

“Growing our skills base needs a greater focus on what skills provision actually achieves for a person or business, instead of just the existence of training or apprenticeships being judged a success. At the beginning of the major technical education reforms, and with the survey showing challenges for the apprenticeship levy system, that shift in mind set by the Government is vital to growth.

“Across the country there are brilliant schools and colleges helping young people succeed, both academically and in terms of the attitudes and behaviours they need to succeed in later life. Business can and must do more to ensure that someone’s postcode or background does not define their life chances.”

Rod Bristow, Pearson’s President, UK and Core Markets, added "We welcome the Education Secretary's aim to create a technical education revolution, and welcome plans to inject much needed funding into the further education sector. We are in complete agreement about the need for collaboration among all stakeholders. We stand ready and committed. Let's not forget, we need career focused as well as job focused routes.”


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

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“Skills needs must drive reform”