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Taskforce Launched to Create Essential Skills Framework
August 20, 2019
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Several organisations have come together to create the UK’s first universal framework for essential skills

The Essential Skills Taskforce, made up of the CIPD, The Careers & Enterprise Company, Business in the Community (BITC), the Gatsby Foundation, EY Foundation and the Skills Builder Partnership, aims to address employers’ growing need for a more rounded set of skills, such as critical thinking and creativity.

Due to launch in 2020, the framework will consist of a set of apps and online tools to provide candidates with a better idea of the skills required to succeed in a role, help employers hire the right people, and show what progression will look like for each different skill so employers can map out how to upskill or reskill workers.

The framework will also be geared towards making educators aware of the skills employers need so they can ensure students are well equipped to join the modern workforce.

Employers from a range of sectors will be consulted about the framework and it will go through several development stages. The final version is expected to be published in Spring 2020.

Chief executive of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Matthew Taylor called for a universal skills framework in his review of modern working practices in 2017.

He welcomed the creation of a new Essential Skills Taskforce: “With the nature of work continuing to evolve, it is challenging to predict exactly what technical abilities and skills will be needed in years to come. However, there’s growing recognition that the core skills, which are essentially human and behavioural, will be vital in almost all jobs and roles.”

He added: “The work of the taskforce is an important step towards achieving a common understanding of these essential skills from education right through to our workplaces. Establishing a framework and a common language for these skills is vital in creating the clarity we need to achieve more productive, high-performing workplaces that enable people whatever their backgrounds to feel engaged and empowered in their jobs.’’

John Holman, Emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of York and former STEM skills adviser to the government, will chair the Essential Skills Taskforce. He commented that despite the rise of automation at work, employees will still need specific skills that can’t be replicated by technology.

“If you ask employers what they are looking for in the people they hire, they increasingly specify essential skills like communication and teamwork. They take for granted that employees must have sound educational qualifications, and what makes the difference is the higher order essential skills which a machine cannot offer,” he said.

“By producing a universal framework of essential skills that are clear, measurable and authoritative, we will give employers a toolkit that they can use to select and train the employees they need to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace. Equally importantly, it will be a toolkit that schools, colleges and universities can use to help the students develop these skills.”

News of the framework comes as students receive their exam results. Rachael Saunders, education director at BITC, said that some of the skills needed at work are frequently overlooked by the education system.

“While the knowledge that young people will gain through their studies is vital, essential skills such as teamwork, creativity, leadership and problem solving are in danger of being forgotten. These skills are valuable now and will remain vital in the future as a balanced focus between knowledge and skills directly links to the UK’s economic development and productivity,” she said.

“Employees and students must be supported to build the skills they need now for our changing world of work, and given access to learning that will equip them to develop the skills they need for the future.”

Saunders called on employers and educators to work together to address the skills challenge in the UK. “If businesses are looking for specific essential skills, they need to work with educators using a curriculum that’s relevant to modern life. This will ensure that businesses benefit from the workforce of the future having the skills they need while leading the way in providing good and fair employment opportunities to all, regardless of background,” she said.

D2N2 LEP: Digital Skills Academy
August 7, 2019
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The D2N2 Digital Skills Academy exclusively supports autistic individuals and women that want to get back into work.

Individuals could be returning to work after a period of absence, out of work and wanting to find a job, or feel that their current skills are underused in their existing role and want to pursue a career in a digitl role.

This programme is designed to help individuals gain the digital skills they need to find a job they’ll thrive in and to become more digitally savvy and boost career prospects.

This training is completely FREE, and comprises a four-day programme.

What support is provided?

Delegates will be taught the skills required to become work-ready for a job in the growing digital sector. Each course set is delivered by experienced and industry-leading digital experts.

Delegates also receive support from a graduate digital buddy, who’ll help build their confidence and offer one-to-one guidance in a safe environment.

Appropriate work experience opportunities may also be a possibility for some delegates once they’ve completed their course.

What is the eligibility criteria?

Each course requires every participant to have a minimum level of digital skills and experience to ensure that the training course is right for them. Desired skills include competency and thorough understanding of computer systems, and applications, be familiar with file management, word processing systems, and have excellent written and verbal skills.

How do you enrol on the Digital Skills Academy?

Follow the link below:

https://www.emc-dnl.co.uk/developing-skills/digital-marketing/digital-skills-academy/d2n2-digital-skills-academy-an-introduction/

Is Fashion Manufacturing Coming Home?
June 21, 2019
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Rapid globalisation and complex supply chains mean brands have hitherto largely relied on production overseas, where labour is often cheaper and economies of scale have enabled strong expansion.

But in light of Brexit and its potential impact on global trade and workforces, the reindustrialisation of Britain, for the textiles industry at least, could prove attractive to many domestic brands

Britain is a clothes-hungry nation: we buy more garments than any other country in Europe. Fast-fashion behemoth Primark operates more stores here than in any other country in the world and its biggest global outpost, an 161,000-square-foot giant, has just opened in Birmingham.

Read more

Problem-Solving Ranked by Employers as the Most Important Skill for their Employees
May 24, 2019
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LifeSkills created by Barclays asked UK employers across a range of different sectors and industries to choose the skills that matter most to them when building their workforce.

The seven core skills identified are:

  1. Proactivity
  2. Adaptability
  3. Leadership
  4. Creativity
  5. Resilience
  6. Communication, and
  7. Problem-solving

When asked which of these seven core skills was the most important, problem-solving was number one, ranking higher than creativity, leadership or communication. Read more

Skilled Electricians Shortage
April 11, 2019
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A new labour market report on the electrotechnical industry has estimated that between 12,500 and 15,000 additional skilled electriciansThe Electrotechnical Skills Partnership will be needed over the next five years to accommodate forecasted growth. 

Within this figure, the research suggests that even if an extra 5000 new apprentices qualified by 2023 (representing a 33% increase), this would still leave a shortfall of 7,500-10,000 electricians needing to be sourced from elsewhere. These workforce predictions are based on meeting demands solely due to sector expansion and do not cover the additional staff turnover occurring from leavers and retirement.

Emerging and future technologies are expected to be major drivers for this increase in skills needs over the next decade, with SMART technology, e-mobility and Wi-Fi technology named as the top-three forces for change. Other areas that are likely to influence the sector include changes to regulations and public policy in areas such as energy efficiency and fire safety. Read more

Education Secretary Outlines Plans to get More People into Skilled Jobs
December 7, 2018
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New measures announced to end the ‘snobbery’ in technical education and boost Britain’s productivity

Britain must drop its ‘snobby’ attitude to technical and vocational education or risk being left behind after Brexit, Education Secretary Damian Hinds warned in a keynote speech to businessSpeech from Education Secretary Damian Hinds leaders today, Thursday 6 December.

As the government marks the one year anniversary of its modern Industrial Strategy which aims to boosts the nation’s productivity and put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution, the Education Secretary set out his plans to get more people into skilled jobs that command higher wages.

These include:

  • A new generation of Higher Technical Qualifications – an alternative to a university degree to help more people get on in their careers and so employers can access the skills they need. These qualifications at “Level 4 and 5” – like Diplomas of Higher Education and Foundation Degrees sit in between A Levels and a degree in subjects like engineering and digital. The kind of training that helps someone step up from being a healthcare support worker to a nursing associate or a bricklayer to a construction site supervisor.
  • Reforming the pupil destination measure – the information published in school and college performance tables about what higher study or training pupils go on to do after they leave – to create one measure that shows how many young people are doing higher training of any type. The new destination measure will show separately how many young people go on to study degrees, higher technical apprenticeships or Higher Technical Qualifications like a Higher National Diploma.
  • Matching skills to jobs – new guidance and a package of support for Skills Advisory Panels – local partnerships between public and private sector employers, local authorities, colleges and universities – to assess what skills are needed in their local area.

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