Blog Type, IPT Blog | March 2017

Skills and the Industrial Strategy

Access to skills continues to remain a prominent issue for businesses in the UK, with over two thirds of employers concerned that they will not be able to find the skills that they require from inside the UK.  The Government’s implementation of the Industrial Strategy creates an opportunity to combat forthcoming issues surrounding a skills gap.

On Thursday 9 March 2017, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a Breakfast Meeting exploring the topic of Skills and the Industrial Strategy. By bringing together industry experts and parliamentarians this meeting created a forum for discussion on how education and skills should be incorporated into the Industrial Strategy. The meeting also touched on the role that immigration plays in the workplace and the types of skills that UK business currently need. Throughout the discussion three notable themes emerged; pace of change for digital technology, career advice and apprenticeships.

Pace of Change
Many technologies used and created by businesses today require new IT skills, capabilities and behaviour. In order to create a pipeline for the future of UK jobs it remains vital to ensure that schools, colleges, universities and industry are providing relevant training.

Furthermore, in order to reduce the possibility of a skills shortage, UK businesses need to work collaboratively with the education system to scope out future job roles and requirements in order to inspire upcoming generations. Schemes such as BBC Make it Digital are already encouraging primary and secondary pupils to discover their digital talents through an online education platform. Sites such as this enable students to engage, watch and speak with industry experts, as well as providing a number of free online training resources. However, it was also discussed that it is equally vital to continue to upskill an existing workforce through adapting existing habits and harnessing creativity in order to sustain work related development.

Career Advice and Apprenticeships
When it comes to choosing a prospective career path, many attendees felt that there is a need for increased marketing and advertising to support alternative vocations. Attendees agreed that many organisations are experiencing challenges recruiting for highly skilled and low skilled jobs because training and formal education hasn’t kept up with the changing nature of work as technology transforms how people do business. The group also discussed how the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy will adapt the existing landscape for UK businesses and career guidance. This levy aims to uphold the standards of an apprenticeship by safeguarding approved providers and assessments. Incentives such as this levy hope to increase the popularity and accessibility of certified apprenticeships.

Words by Rioco Green