Employers urged to combat skills shortage

Employers should take the lead in tackling workplace skills shortages, according to a report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The Growth Through People report urges employers to take initiative in developing the skills of the UK workforce and sets out 5 key priorities to address over the next 20 years:

  • Employers to take the leadership on skill development:
    Employers should focus on collaborating with other businesses, employees and trade unions to develop skills across different sectors and regions. Stronger employer leadership is needed locally, and the government should commit to support industry-led partnerships.
  • Increase standard of living by developing skills and boosting productivity:
    Providing people with the right the skills will give them access to better opportunities and higher wages. 
  • Increased focus on apprenticeships and vocational education:
    High quality apprenticeships should be a common route into a career. Employers should work closer with government to design apprenticeships. This will ensure skills will be valuable in the labour market.
  • Collaboration between employers and education:
    Schools should forge closer links with local businesses. Further education colleges and employers should work together to deliver higher level professional skills.
  • Success should be judged not just on educational achievement:
    There should be less focus on formal qualifications and more on wider measures of success.

John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry and UKCES commissioner, said:

"We must work hard to improve our education system to the benefit of all and help people overcome disadvantage.

"We also need to create better ladders to higher-skilled work which can help boost the UK's productivity and lead to a rise in wages."

Marcus Mason, employment and skills policy manager at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"It is encouraging to see that UKCES is looking at ways to improve workplace skills in order to boost productivity, wages and social mobility in the UK.

"The UK wide Chamber network, which has more than 1,200 schools, colleges and universities in its membership, is already working to build stronger links, which will help to better prepare young people for work and address skills shortages."

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