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ViewPoint: By David Hughes – Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges
November 8, 2018
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By ignoring colleges, the Budget ignored the UK skills crisis Far from being a “People’s Budget”, the Chancellor failed to address the critical need amongst young people and employers for investment in colleges.

“The hard work of the British people is paying off. Austerity is coming to an end.” These were the words of the Chancellor as he introduced his Budget for “the strivers, the grafters and the carers”. I’ve even heard commentators talking about it as a “People’s Budget”. The problem, as always, is which people?

There are many other commentators who will pore over the tax and benefits announcements to declare how fair or otherwise the Budget was and who won and who lost. What I saw was a Budget that was more about politics and potholes than about the jobs, skills and life chances.

Any long-term view of our country will recognise just how important it will be to improve our education and skills investment as the weaknesses in our labour market become more exposed. Employers in private and public sectors have become reliant on skilled and semi-skilled people moving here to work, many from the EU. Nurses, teachers, engineers, construction workers, carers, shop workers – the list goes on and on. That reliance has hidden the misfit between our education and skills investment and the jobs that are available.

Read more

Educating for the Modern World: Increased demand for Higher Skilled Roles
November 7, 2018
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The CBI reports that more than three-quarters (79%) of businesses expect to increase the number of higher-skilled roles over the coming years.

Yet two-thirds (66%) fear that there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies. 

That’s according to the 2018 CBI Education and Skills Annual Report, in partnership with Pearson.

The report represents 28,000 businesses and reveals that 85% of firms are expecting to maintain or increase investment in training in their workforce. Currently, UK employers spend £44.2 billion on training expenditure each year.

When asked about the impact of the apprenticeship levy, the report highlighted a drop in the number of firms offering apprenticeship programmes (from 83% in 2017 to 70% in 2018). Worryingly, 59% of those firms that offer such programmes have experienced difficulty in recruiting apprentices or expect to do so in the next three years.  And over a quarter (26%) have taken the decision to absorb the levy as an added cost of doing business. Read more

How Useful is The Concept of Skills Mismatch?
October 1, 2018
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The following blog was written and published by dmh Associates.DMH Associates

The term skill mismatch is very broad and can relate to many forms of labour market friction, including vertical mismatch, skill gaps, skill shortages, field of study (horizontal) mismatch and skill obsolescence.

This discussion paper  written by Seamus McGuinness ESRI and IZA, Konstantinos Pouliakas Cedefop, University of Aberdeen and IZA and  Paul Redmond ESRI and published by the  I Z A Institute of Labour Economics provides a clear overview of each concept and discusses the measurement and inter-relatedness of different
forms of mismatch.

It presents a comprehensive analysis of the current position of the literature on skills mismatch and highlight areas which are relatively underdeveloped and may warrant further research.

Using data from the European Skills and Jobs Survey, they assess the incidence of various combinations of skills mismatch across the EU.

Finally, the paper reviews the European Commission’s country-specific recommendations and find that skills mismatch, when referring to under-utilised human capital in the form of over education and skills underutilisation, receives little policy attention. Read more

Employer Skills Survey
September 6, 2018
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The UK Employer Skills Survey (ESS) is one of the largest business surveys in the world, with the data in this report based on survey responses from over 87,000 employers.

Recruitment and skill-shortage vacancies

Growth in recruitment activity was evident across most of the UK.

In line with previous years, a third of vacancies in the UK (33%) were considered hard to fill.

There has been an 8% increase in the number of skill-shortage vacancies compared with 2015. They were most numerous in the Business Services sector (just under 52,000 at the time of the survey), though as a proportion of all vacancies in the sector, the density of such vacancies was highest in Construction. By occupation, employers were most likely to have experienced skills-related difficulties when recruiting for Skilled Trades positions. The skills disproportionately lacking for Professionals included advanced IT skills and complex analytical skills.

The proportion of vacancies proving hard to fill exclusively for non-skills-related reasons was highest in Health and Social Work.

Among employers who had vacancies that were proving hard to fill, 34% had attempted to recruit EU nationals to try to help overcome recruitment difficulties. This was a particularly common way of trying to fill hard-to-fill vacancies in the Hotels and Restaurants sector (53%). Read more

75% of Firms Expect Increase of High-Skilled Roles in Coming Years
August 8, 2018
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Nation’s prosperity relies on more people of all ages going to university, educating more people at university could bring significant benefits to our economy, according to a new report published today [6 Aug] by Universities UK. The report, ‘Solving future skills challenges highlights the need for continual skill upgrading, lifelong learning and study of higher education qualifications at all levels.

The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and digital technology – and challenges of Brexit and an ageing population are creating rising demand for those with higher level skills, which include qualifications at level 4 and 5 (such as HNCs, HNDs, and Foundation Degrees), level 6 (bachelor degrees) and level 7 and 8 (postgraduate and research degrees)

John Cope, CBI Head of Education and Skills, said:

“UUK is right to highlight the growing need for higher level education, training, and skills, as well as the importance of lifelong learning. CBI research has found that three quarters of businesses expect to increase the number of high-skilled roles over the coming years, and many have concerns about skills shortages.

“Better information and careers guidance for people – alongside greater numbers of flexible learning opportunities – is vital to help people choose the best route for them to higher level skills, whether that’s at a university, college, or learning on the job through a degree apprenticeship.”


Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK
, said there is significant evidence of the need to increase student numbers:

“There is rising employer demand for the broad skills developed at university across a wide range of subjects and levels. The UK economy and society needs more graduates. Educating more people of all ages at university would grow our economy faster, by increasing productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.

“The analytical and learning skills developed at university help people adapt in the rapidly changing jobs market. To meet future challenges, the government should develop new policies to make part-time study more appealing, upskilling easier and encourage lifelong learning among our ageing population.” Read more

CBI Launches the 2018 Education and Skills Survey
August 6, 2018
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CBI’s annual pulse-check on what business thinks about the education and skills.

CBI launches the 2018 Education and Skills Survey

People and skills are at the heart of our economic prosperity. With a good education and the right skills, everyone has the best chance to get a job and get on in their career.

The Education and Skills survey is the CBI’s annual pulse-check on what business thinks about education and skills. It aims to find out more about the current and anticipated skills needs, what business really thinks the priorities should be in schools, apprenticeships, technical education reform, retraining – and much more.

The findings will shape the CBI’s future policy recommendations to ensure UK businesses have the skills required to flourish over the coming decades.

Take part in the 2018 Education and Skills Survey

Better understanding of what business thinks on education is more vital than ever. The next ten years the way we live, and work will rapidly change due to technological developments, globalisation, the impact of Artificial Intelligence, automation and other factors. This will bring exciting opportunities, but also present challenges for the next generation that will need to be addressed. The survey gathers the evidence needed to develop the policies and reforms that need to take place now and in the coming years. Read more

New Multi-Million Pound Deal To Boost Skills Across West Midlands
July 20, 2018
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EXTRACT PRODUCED BY DMH ASSOCIATEFROM https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-multi-million-pound-deal-to-boost-skills-across-west-midlands

Businesses, young people and adults across the West Midlands are set to benefit from a new skills deal, which could unlock up to £69million, the Education Secretary has announced today (18 July).

The skills deal agreed with the West Midlands Combined Authority will boost digital and technical skills, job opportunities and productivity across the region – supporting more young people and adults into work as well as upskilling and retraining local people of all ages.

The Government will co-fund the new skills deal, alongside employer funding and the West Midlands Combined Authority will invest £20million into this area as set out in their Skills Plan.

The new deal includes:

  • Creating hundreds of new apprenticeships at small and medium sized businesses in priority areas, including in construction, automotive and digital sectors – helping increasing job opportunities for all.
  • A multi-million investment in local colleges – ensuring they have access to the latest equipment and facilities to teach the skills the region and the country need, including digital, and construction.
  • Up to £5million to work with employers to develop a National Retraining Scheme (NRS) pilot to drive adult learning and retraining.
  • £1million to boost Edtech and the way it supports adult learners in the West Midlands.
  • £1million to improve careers advice for young people, including a new careers hub in the West Midlands.
  • Piloting an innovative online portal for businesses to share work experience opportunities with schools.

Some of this country’s most acute skills challenges are found within the West Midlands, which the skills deal will aim to address through the new funding and support for the West Midlands economy, driving local growth. This deal builds on the work already underway through the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which aims to boost productivity and earning power across the country. This includes investing in maths, digital and technical education to help generate well-paid, highly skilled jobs across the country. Read more

£3m Skills Boost For Greater Lincolnshire SMEs

Greater Lincolnshire’s businesses are being encouraged to take advantage of free training in the region, as a further £3m of funding has been made available.

The fund, accessible through the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project and co-financed by the European Social Fund, will give companies, including SMEs and sole traders, the opportunity to offer their employees professional training across a range of skills and sectors.

Nigel Brough, regional development manager of the SSW project in Greater Lincolnshire, said: “The project has already made a significant impact in the region, having helped 900 businesses and 4,000 employees gain new skills over the last 12 months.

“Securing an additional £3m funding means we will be able to extend that reach and support even more businesses, helping them to achieve their growth plans by offering them the opportunity to upskill employees through free training and improved productivity. Each employer receives a bespoke training programme, taking into account what works for them and their business in terms of training locations and timings.”

The £3m of funding is an extension of the SSW programme, which pairs local providers with employers based on their location and the specific type of training required, has been running across the region for the last year.

Read more

ViewPoint: Competing for Softer Skills
May 15, 2018
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The following was written David Falzani MBE CEng and Paul Kirkham  Nottingham University Business School.

In preparing young people for the workplace the education system is well proven in its ability to convey technical skills and capabilities. However, perhaps there are still opportunities to increase the appreciation and development of soft skills.

Back in the 1980s, improved team working started to become a leading business topic, whereby companies and organisations would succeed by employees working better together – teams and increased cross functional collaboration were the new way to solve an ever increasing complex set of challenges, particularly as the information revolution changed the way we all worked.Sli

Leading practitioners such as Meredith Belbin showed that the performance of a team is directly linked to having a diverse set of personalities and profiles and as well as effective communication and collaboration skills. These are sometimes referred to as soft skills. More recent publications such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Why it Can Matter More Than IQ have further extended the understanding of soft skills and also highlighted how it is increasingly recognised as having a crucial role in the workplace.

Evidence shows that employers recruiting from HE and FE greatly value team and communication skills, particularly amongst those with a technical or scientific training – where those skills sometimes don’t have an opportunity to develop during the busy curriculum. They report that those individuals tend to be more productive, more able to quickly integrate into operations, and a better company ‘fit’.

A good way for students, as well as job seekers, to broaden their soft skills is through business competitions. These are increasingly being run by HE and FE providers. Overall, there’s a rising tide of activities around enterprise – partly due to the increased interest in start-up companies, TV shows such as Dragon’s Den/The Apprentice, and the new phenomena of Kickstarter and Indie GoGo. Read more

The Jobs of 2027
April 30, 2018
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The following (rather long) article was written by Gary Tippet of University of Melbourn. In it he explores the changes likely to be needed to the skillsets of Austrialian’s employees. Changes which will also impact on employees in the UK across the rest of the world.

In 10 years jobs we’re familiar with now will change as new technologies impact on how we work. Professionals like nurses, architects, artists and farmers will all need new skillsets to keep up with the technological revolution

Over the next decade, the way we do our jobs will change dramatically. The impact of new and emerging technologies, shifting economics, even environmental pressures mean most professions are in a continual state of change – with many struggling to keep up with the pace of transformation.

And for many people working across most industries – and those in the future – they must be ready and willing to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest information and training in a fast-changing environment.

For example, genome sequencing and precision therapies are on the way to making cancer a manageable condition rather than a lethal one. But it also means today’s practicing nurses will need to become quickly competent in tomorrow’s advances.

Below five professionals are highlighted across five industries describing how their jobs are changing and what the next generation needs to do to prepare, adapt and thrive.

AGRICULTURE

One third of our planet’s land is used for agriculture. It’s a lot, but bear in mind that 50 per cent of Earth’s landmass – desert, tundra, mountains and glaciers – is unusable. And our need for what agriculture provides doesn’t stop with land.

Read more

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