Due to “confusing, fragmented, untargeted and ineffective” skills training, in 10 years England could have a surplus of 3.1 million low-skilled workers, while employers trying to fill highly skilled roles will face a deficit of 2.5 million high-skilled workers.
That’s according to a new report commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), with the LGA estimating that for England alone the potential loss of economic output resulting from the skills gap in 2030 might be around the £120 billion mark.
In order to tackle this the LGA is calling on the government to devolve all apprenticeship, back-to-work, careers advice and business support schemes back to local authorities so that they can deliver a “one-stop” service for skills training.
(At the moment £10.5 billion a year is spent by eight government departments and agencies across 20 different national schemes.)
Large Cuts and Centralisation to Blame
Stephen Evans, the CEO of the Learning and Work Institute said: “Improving skills is central to making the 2020s a decade of growth. Other countries have continued to invest in skills, while progress in England has stalled over the last decade, the result of large cuts in England’s adult education budget which has left us lagging behind other countries and the number of adults improving their skills at a record low.”
He added: “We now need a decade of investment, in order to boost life chances, economic prosperity and to level up the country. That investment needs to be delivered through a partnership between national and local government, employers and trade unions. “The cost of inaction is large and growing.”
LGA Skills Gap
The LGA has called Brexit an ‘opportunity’ that can be used to improve the current nature of skills and employment training which is currently governed centrally.
Last November it was reported that Europe’s cybersecurity skills gap alone doubled in 2018, with 291,000 more security professionals needed to meet business demand in 2019. On a global scale the non-profit cybersecurity professional association (ISC) predictsthat the world’s cybersecurity workforce needs to increase by 145 percent.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board commented that: “Millions of people face a future where they have skills mismatched for jobs at a huge cost to people’s lives and the local and national economy.
“Councils are ideally placed to lead efforts to help the Government bring growth and jobs to all parts of the country and ensure everyone is fully equipped with the skills they need to compete for future jobs. For that to happen, our complex and fragmented national skills system needs to adapt to a changing jobs market.”