From education to employment

City & Guilds Parliamentary event highlights impact of skills gaps on life chances and local communities  


 With a skills and productivity gap potentially contributing to 1.53 million people being unable to find employment in the UK, and with just over half (54%) of all UK employers agreeing their business can recruit the skilled individuals they need, City and Guilds is holding an event today {Tuesday 11 July} providing an opportunity for MPs to learn more about the current skills gap crisis, how to tackle skills gaps, and how City and Guilds can provide them with support on wider skills-related issues in their local constituencies.

David Blunkett, former Education Secretary, will give the keynote address to MPs on the skills and productivity crisis. Mr Blunkett will talk about how the UK’s current skills and productivity gap could be contributing to 1.53 million people not being able to find work, despite there being over one million job vacancies nationally. 

 As well as hearing about how skills gaps could be tackled, MPs and officials attending the event will be given an opportunity to engage with wider skills-related issues and have an opportunity to learn more about the scale and breadth of City & Guilds’ work across the country. 

City and Guilds has already contributed significantly to the national skills gap evidence base as a thought leader, through a series of high impact research reports, including: 

  • Youth Misspent’: which shows that nearly one in ten (9%) of young people currently studying or out of work say they never intend to start working, while 30% of young people say they don’t think they’ll ever meet their career ambitions and disadvantaged youth say they feel ‘locked out’ of opportunities to enter the workplace; 
  • Bright Futures Green energy’: looks at the skills gaps in the emerging green economy, highlighting the need to upskill the existing engineering workforce to support a future-fit low carbon economy. The research showed that the UK has an ongoing shortage of engineers, with demand for these roles increasing faster than average across the economy. The research found that demand for both green skills and green jobs is growing, and this is only likely to intensify as necessary investment is made to hit the UK’s net zero requirements by 2050, and 2045 in Scotland; 
  • Great jobs: recognising the essential jobs that keep the UK working’: looks at jobs the government has deemed essential to the economy, drawing attention to the fact that the UK’s most vital industries are being threatened by growing skills shortages, as poor reputations and concerns about low pay threaten to turn off potential new recruits.   

The findings showed that, despite 3.1 million key worker job openings being expected in the next five years – making up 50% of openings in the UK jobs market – only around a quarter of Brits would consider working in many of those roles. Poor reputation and low pay expectations are also cited as fuelling the unattractiveness of keyworker roles, as the cost-of-living skyrockets. Meanwhile, the construction industry, in which only 9% of women said they would consider working, will also need to attract more diverse workforces to help fill vacancies. 

Kirstie Donnelly, CEO, City and Guilds, said:

“It’s been great to welcome so many parliamentarians to our event, who are interested in learning about the link between skills and life chances in their local communities.

“We have now reached a critical point in the development and implementation of skills policy in the UK, particularly in the green sector, where there is a real risk the UK will get left behind in the productivity race, if we don’t harness skills for growth.

“Now, more than ever, City & Guilds has a critical role to play in this economic recovery, in ensuring that workers are trained and sufficiently upskilled to be able to take on jobs vital to the successful transition to an emerging green economy and achieve the UK’s Net Zero ambitions.” 

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