Prioritise adult skills to avoid future unemployment “twilight zone”

9 July 2014

NIACE has responded to a report launched by the Local Government Association at its annual conference (8-10 July), calling for radical new powers to be given to councils to help transform the lives of millions of people who could be trapped in a future unemployment “twilight zone”.

Responding to the report, Tom Stannard, NIACE Deputy Chief Executive, said:

“There is a lot to welcome in the LGA’s report, especially calls to match training with local jobs and to refocus on employment skills and back to work support. However, a number of the proposals focus on younger people and boosting teenage participation in education and training. As important as this may be, there will be 13.5 million job vacancies over the next decade, but only 7 million young people entering the labour market – skilled adults will need to fill that gap.

“Longer working lives are a reality which we need to tackle and benefit from. To address current and future skills shortages we must recognise the talent and potential of older people. The Government is already incorporating lessons learned from our Mid-life Career Review Pilots to ensure older workers can access an in-depth career review for the first time.

“But we need to go even further to deliver a skills-led recovery which makes the most of greater longevity, as outlined in our recently published manifesto – Skills for Prosperity. A truly lifelong learning society recognises and values the contribution of all individuals. Personal Skills Account for all adults linked to an entitlement to career reviews will put people in control of their own skills development. Skills and economic growth strategies must be integrated, through LEPs and combined authorities, to meet local labour market needs, address skills shortages and fill skills gaps.? This is why our manifesto calls for a “new localism” to help councils and LEPs deliver this. It will help people to thrive in their careers, boosting productivity and ensuring vibrant economic growth that will lead to prosperity for all.”