The majority of people who will be working in 2030 are already in the workforce, and will be untouched by the current round of educational reforms. UK employers spend less on training than other major EU economies and less than the EU average. Participation in job-related adult learning has fallen significantly in recent years, leaving us languishing close to the bottom of the league table.
What’s clear from this report is that we need to actively promote the development of productive, inclusive and engaging workplaces that get the best out of people, but also that we take a much more strategic view of skills and the systems and mechanisms through which we will develop and sustain them. Just focusing on the supply is not enough if we are to meet the huge challenges of rapid technological change, an ageing workforce, and increasingly complex organisational structures, while ensuring progression for as many people as possible.
We need to start thinking much more broadly about how the growth of different employment models, flexi-working, contract and portfolio working may require significant changes to the ways we invest in and develop skills in the future.
The analysis, which forms part of the CIPD’s formal response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, highlights the failings in the UK’s skills system and offers thoughts and recommendations on how we can improve our performance.
One of the purposes of this report is to persuade policymakers to give a higher priority to developing a range of high-quality vocational routes to employment as complementary to a university education. We need both systems to work effectively if we are to meet the huge changes in the content and organisation of work driven by new technologies, deal with increasingly complex organisational structures, and ensure progression in the workplace for as many people as possible. That means looking at how people can acquire and develop skills throughout their working lives, and not just in the early years.
Overall, the recommendations focus on making significant progress in a limited number of areas by building on what we have and recognising that meaningful change will be gradual and requires stability and consistency. The thoughts and recommendations are grouped around six themes.
- Strength and stability in the system
- Improving basic/core skills
- Increasing the quality of vocational pathways
- Building capacity at a local and workplace level
- Promoting learning across the life course
- Access to quality information, advice and guidance.