Adult skills revolution crucial to Britain’s economic future

1 October 2014

Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech in which he reaffirmed the pledge for three million new Apprenticeships and his dual aims to abolish youth unemployment and achieve full employment, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“We need an adult skills revolution in this country to deliver the Prime Minister’s ambitious and laudable aims of having the fastest growing economy and for people to live a better life and get on in the jobs market. With 13.5m job vacancies over the coming decade but only 7m new young entrants to the labour market, this is now a pressing economic necessity. I am concerned that the Prime Minister’s protection of the budgets of some Whitehall departments risks the delivery of his ambitions.

“The next ten years are going to see large and rising skills challenges – Government, employers, education providers and individuals must work together to tackle these. For every young person entering the labour market for the first time there will be almost twice as many job vacancies. And as technology progresses people will need to keep on adapting, updating and learning new skills. The digital knowledge we have now will be outdated in 5 years time let alone in 50 years.

“This is why, in our manifesto, we set out six priority actions for the next Government including: giving people more control over their learning with personal skills accounts; good quality careers advice and reviews at key points in people’s lives; and an Apprentice Charter underpinning the ambition of three million new apprentices with a written commitment setting out the rights and responsibilities of individuals, employers and the Government. The Charter will enable everyone to identify the opportunities, experiences, support and feedback each apprentice can expect at different stages. It will also give the apprentice a clear understanding of the contribution they must make.

“We believe that these actions will lead to a skills system fit for the 21st Century, a vibrant and dynamic economy and will create a truly lifelong learning society and mean prosperity for all.”