UK groups unite in call to invest in training, increase skills

by L&D01 Nov 2016
An array of business groups, unions and professionals in the UK have come together to call on the British government to implement a series of new policies designed to boost productivity and help industry – including major investment in staff training.
The proposals were submitted to the newly created Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS), which issued a call-out for submissions to 170 businesses, as the government aims to come up with a new blueprint for British industry.
Many proposals covered infrastructure investment, while others emphasised the need to increase the skills of workers through improved training. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), for instance, called for increased funding for apprenticeships and for the development of non-graduate skills.
"A modern industrial strategy should seek to build confidence and prosperity by unlocking growth and productivity across the regions and nations of the UK,” the CBI said. “To this challenge, the UK’s companies hold many of the answers – building a skills system for years to come, ensuring Britain is a leading location for cutting-edge innovation and helping to renew our nation’s infrastructure.”
One technology company, Arm Holdings, called for more emphasis to be placed specifically on the widespread improvement of digital skills.

“UK success in the digital area will depend hugely on training a workforce with the right skills. Increasingly these will be in data analysis as much as in coding and computer engineering,” the company said.

“We need to design an education system which delivers this. This is not a new problem. But it is not yet clear that we have all the right answers.”

Another area of concern for businesses was their freedom to employ foreign workers, with the Institute of Directors calling on the government to understand that migrants may be needed to plug a skills gap in the short term.
“While training UK workers for the skills our employers need is the right thing to do, education and training takes time and, in the interim, employers will still need straightforward access to skilled migrants,” said the Institute.
"An open attitude toward foreign investment by successive governments has contributed to jobs and growth in the UK over the past decade.”