New report raises alarm over skills gap

by Brett Henebery24 Apr 2017
A lack of investment in skilling learners has caused the UK to fall behind its European competitors in most of the OECD in four key measures, a new report shows.
The analysis was conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a non-profit professional body for HR and people development.
The four key measures requiring immediate governmental attention were identified as follows:
  • England and Northern Ireland together rank in the bottom four OECD countries for literacy and numeracy among 16-24 year olds
  • Out of 19 countries, the UK ranks bottom of the class on young peoples’ computer problem-solving skills
  • UK employers spend less on training than other major EU economies and less than the EU average, and the gap has widened since 2005. In 2010, the cost per employee was €266 in the UK, against €511 across the EU
  • The UK lies fourth from the bottom on the EU league table on participation in job-related adult learning, with evidence showing a marked deterioration since 2007
Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser for the CIPD and co-author of the report, said the “sobering analysis” of the state of skills in the UK was a wake-up call for the government.
“Our report should serve as a real wake-up call for the government to break with the past two decades of failed skills policy and set the UK on a new course that delivers the right results for individuals, organisations and the economy as a whole,” she said.
To build strength and stability into the UK skills system, the CIPD is calling for the Government to:
  1. Make additional skills funding for the workplace a priority
  2. Put skills at the heart of the Industrial Strategy
  3. Reframe the Apprenticeship Levy as a training levy
  4. Encourage organisations to raise their ambitions and invest more in workplace learning and ongoing skills development
Crowley said that while more efforts are being made to reform education, there needs to be a much greater emphasis on learning and development in the workplace.
“As we move towards Brexit, and possible restrictions on overseas talent, it’s crucial that government works in partnership with education providers and businesses to address these deep-rooted issues that continue to blight individual and business potential,” she said.

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