From education to employment

Pioneering £100 million National Retraining Scheme gets underway – Sector response

Technologies like #AI and #automation are transforming the way we live and work

Adults whose jobs could change or become obsolete due to advances in technology will get support to retrain and get on a path to a new career, Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced today (18 Jul), marking the start of the innovative National Retraining Scheme launched to help people retrain as workplace automation increases.

The National Retraining Scheme – which is being developed to support adults to adapt to changes in the workplace – has begun its initial rollout in the Liverpool City Region with the launch of a new digital service, Get Help to Retrain. 

The CBI and TUC are both backing the initiative as a way of boosting productivity, pay and skills, supporting adults to retrain and kick start a new career.

It comes as figures reveal that up to 35% of jobs could be at risk of changing as a result of automation in the next 10-20 years, with computer programmes or even robots transforming the way things are done in the workplace.

Get Help to Retrain is designed to help adults to discover new opportunities and what they need to do to get the skills to land a new job.

The online service will help adults identify their existing skills, explore local job opportunities and where to go to find training courses to gain the skills they need to progress.

Dedicated support will also be on hand from trained careers advisors to guide people through the process and provide expert information and advice.

damian hinds100x100Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

“Technologies like AI and automation are transforming the way we live and work and bringing huge benefits to our economy, but it also means that jobs are evolving and some roles will soon become a thing of the past.

“The National Retraining Scheme will be pivotal in helping adults across the country whose jobs are at risk of changing to gain new skills and get on the path to a new, more rewarding career.

“This is big and complex challenge, which is why we are starting small, learning as we go, and releasing each part of the scheme only when it’s ready to benefit its users.  We’re beginning with the launch of the Get Help to Retrain digital service in the Liverpool City Region first, working alongside our partners the CBI and TUC, to make sure we get it right and the service works for the people who need it.”

The launch of the Get Help to Retrain digital service is the first of a series of products that will make up the full National Retraining Scheme. The National Retraining Scheme – backed by £100 million of Government investment – is a manifesto commitment and is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy for building a country fit for the future.

The scheme is led and overseen by the National Retraining Partnership – a unique partnership between Government, the CBI and the TUC – to ensure the collective voices of businesses and employees are heard.

Get Help to Retrain will initially start as a private service. Eligible adults across Liverpool – those aged 24 and over, with a qualification below degree level and working below a certain wage threshold – will be invited to trial the new service so the system can be developed and fully evaluated before being scaled up and rolled out to other regions in the coming months. Get Help to Retrain will be released to all eligible adults in England in early 2020. A series of additional products that will make up the full service are being developed and tested in parallel, before being released at different times.

The National Careers Service in the Liverpool City Region is supporting the testing of the scheme by providing qualified careers advisers to give expert information, advice and guidance to users of Get Help to Retrain.

Anne milton100x100Discussing the launch of these schemes with FE News in her recent podcastAnne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, said:

“This is specifically aimed at people whose jobs are likely to be at risk of automation, to make sure that they get the skills as those jobs change.

“We know that a significant number of jobs are not going to exist. There are going to be new jobs, that people are going to need new skills in order to undertake those.

“We’re also doing other things for people who maybe didn’t do very well at school, who didn’t get a lot of qualifications. For instance, we know that one in five adults don’t have basic digital skills. So from 2020 there will be an opportunity for people with no, or low, basic digital skills to get the skills they need. In this day and age, even just to get on in your everyday life, you need to have some basic digital skills.

“We will be releasing this summer “Get help to retrain” which is a digital service to help adults understand what skills they’ve currently got. 

“A lot of people aren’t aware of what skills they have, or how to explore alternative roles or jobs, and find out where they can get the training they need to redirect their job in the future.”

Boris Johnson 100x100Earlier this month Boris Johnson announced that if he becomes Prime Minister he will aim to boost non-university options by reinvigorating plans for the £100 million “retraining fund” to give those already in the labour market useful skills:

“We need to make sure that we… properly fund all manner of technical and vocational education – from further education colleges to apprenticeships – and if I am lucky enough to be elected, we will,” Boris Johnson said, “Their [apprentices’] expertise will be indispensable to the future of this country – and guess what: none of them have been to university.”

Joe Dromey100x100The National Retraining Scheme is good news, but more needs to be done to boost investment in skills and stop the UK falling behind says Joe Dromey, Deputy Director of Research and Development at Learning and Work Institute:

“Automation is transforming the labour market. While we won’t see a jobless future, there will be significant job losses in some sectors, and profound changes in the demand for skills. Workers will need help to adapt, particularly those with lower levels of qualifications whose jobs are most at risk.

“The National Retraining scheme could really help these workers to retrain and up-skill. The partnership approach – involving the voice of employers and workers – is to be welcomed, as is the commitment to testing and ongoing evaluation. Learning and Work Institute has been working on DfE’s ‘cost and outreach pilots’ to understand how we can engage more adults in learning.

“While the National Retraining Scheme is good news, Learning and Work Institute research shows more needs to be done to boost investment in skills and stop the UK falling behind. The adult skills budget has been cut in half in the last decade, with the number of adults participating falling by half too. Our adult participation survey has shown the lowest levels of participation in learning in 20 years. Employer investment in training in the UK is low and it is weighted towards highly skilled workers. Lifelong learning has never been more important, so more needs to be done to ensure it is available to all.”

Euan Davis, European Lead, Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work, said:

“By 2025, 12% of current jobs will be lost to automation and new technologies, but 13% will be created. The net-net will be incremental job growth. This relatively small expected change in employment levels will, however, mask huge changes in what work we do and how we do it.

“Within the overall labour market, there will be a massive job transition, creating significant skills mismatches. Old skills have declining value and traditional business models based on them are folding under the weight of economics that no longer make sense.

“All this means that retraining programmes like the one revealed by the Government today will become essential for those whose jobs will eventually become obsolete. Preparing for new jobs will also require upskilling, and the modernisation of the education syllabus for students from 5 to 21 and for adults of all ages.”

Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said:

“The pace of technological change has never been faster and U.K. is well positioned to take advantage of that, but we also need to watch the backs of working people whose careers will be changed as a result. 

“The National Retraining Scheme is a £100m programme to help people gain new skills in the workplace, change occupation if necessary and increase their pay and prospects.”

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said: 

“Ensuring our country’s workforce is fit for the 21st century, particularly the challenges and opportunities presented by automation, is vital if we are to improve productivity growth, which is the only sustainable route to higher wages and living standards.

“As the world of work changes, employers – supported by government – have a crucial role to play in providing opportunities that help people learn throughout their careers. And as it develops, the national retraining partnership should become part of wider cross-government efforts aimed at embracing the fourth industrial revolution.”

Kevin RowanKevin Rowan, Head of Organising, Skills and Services Department at the Trades Union Congress said:

“Every worker should have the opportunity to improve their skills and retrain.

“This is crucial as the labour market is transformed by technology and automation in the coming years. The launch of the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme marks the beginning of a new collaborative approach – opening retraining up to many more adults, and preparing them for the jobs of the future.

“Union learning reps will play a key role in supporting workers to access the advice and retraining opportunities made available through the scheme.

“This is just the beginning. The challenge for the National Retraining Partnership is to develop a national programme that invests in the potential of all workers, delivering the skills we need to compete in the growth sectors of the future.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“As new technologies disrupt our existing economic model, creating new types of jobs but making others obsolete, it makes perfect sense to give people the opportunity to retrain for the employment opportunities of the future so I’m pleased that the National Retraining Scheme is launching in the Liverpool City Region. 

“It is also clear that, because regional economies like ours differ so much from those of London and the South East, the government needs to deliver real devolution of powers and funding for training so that we can ensure our residents have the skills that our economy needs.”

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