Debate on the Government’s skills strategy, House of Commons, 8 May 2018

Research commissioned by the LGA reveals that the skills gap is worsening. By 2024 there will be more than four million too few high-skilled people to take up available jobs, two million too many with intermediate skills and more than six million too many low-skilled.


Key messages

  • Our employment and skills system is highly fragmented, and it can be difficult and confusing for people looking to retrain or upskill to know where to start. £10.5 billion of employment and skills funding is commissioned by eight Whitehall departments or agencies across 20 different national schemes, with different criteria and eligibility. Despite this level of investment, our skills system has failed to have a decisive impact on the varying social and economic challenges and opportunities in local areas, or make a decisive impact on outcomes.
  • Research commissioned by the LGA reveals that the skills gap is worsening. By 2024 there will be more than four million too few high-skilled people to take up available jobs, two million too many with intermediate skills and more than six million too many low-skilled. Failure to address the resulting skills gap puts at risk up to four per cent of future economic growth, or a loss of £90 billion economic output, and the average worker will be £1,176 a year worse off.
  • The Government has initiated a range of post-16 skills reforms to address the skills challenge, including a renewed focus on adult re-skilling and upskilling. It will be important for the Government to recognise the merits of the local careers pilots and use it to inform the CBI and TUC-led National Retraining Scheme. It must also ensure that sector needs are balanced with local needs, and that it delivers support to those people and places that are most likely to lose out from economic and technical change.
  • Other national initiatives include skills advisory panels, devolved adult education budget, digital skills partnerships and reforms to achieve parity between technical and academic routes. There are clear benefits to exploring how these could be designed and coordinated locally to target training of the current and future workforce and we are committed to working with the Government to achieve this.
  • Work Local is the LGA’s positive proposal for change. Led by combined authorities and groups of councils, in partnership with local stakeholders, local areas should have the powers and funding to plan, commission and have oversight of a joined-up service bringing together advice and guidance, employment, skills, apprenticeship and business support for individuals and employers. This approach is now critical as combined authorities, councils and local partners plan how their areas will respond to the challenges and opportunities of Brexit and the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

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Debate on the Government’s skills strategy, House of Commons, 8 May 2018