Featured Article

featured

Olly Newton, Executive Director, Edge Foundation

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

After the extraordinary upheaval of 2020, the UK’s existing chronic skills shortage has become a critical problem. With the pandemic and economic crisis ongoing, the Edge Foundation’s first Skills Shortage Bulletin of 2021 – published today (21 Jan) – is perhaps the most important to date.

Combining expert voices and research from across the education, business and employment sectors, this invaluable resource tracks ongoing and emerging trends in the UK labour market.

Covid is a common theme

Unsurprisingly, Covid is a common theme in the latest bulletin. Notably, the latest research suggests that the pandemic has not necessarily created new challenges so much as accelerated existing ones.

The Learning and Work Institute found that those facing the greatest levels of unemployment are so-called ‘low-skilled’ workers and others in sectors that were struggling pre-pandemic. Of particular concern are younger workers, who are entering a deeply depressed labour market; unemployed older people, who face greater obstacles to re-entering the workplace after prolonged unemployment; and non-white workers, for whom the pandemic has compounded existing institutional inequalities.

Employer Skills Survey

The Skills Shortage Bulletin includes similar findings from the DfE’s Employer Skills Survey. While the last survey took place pre-Covid, in 2019, it provides an excellent baseline for the state of play.

Over the last decade, the survey has shown a consistent fall in recruitment, accompanied by growing skills deficiencies in middle- and high-skilled roles and poor investment in skills development.

This highlights that the pandemic is by no means the only cause of the current skills gap. Something to bear in mind if the government seeks to pursue this narrative!

Open University’s Business Barometer

The Open University’s Business Barometer also offers interesting insights. Their latest survey, which took place in summer 2020, well into the pandemic, confirms that skills shortages are a prolonged issue. But it also highlights that the problem is growing.

During FY19-20, businesses spent £6.1bn plugging short-term skills gaps, compared with £4.4bn the previous year. 61% of businesses also felt they lacked the agility to cope with the demands of the pandemic due to a lack of leadership, management and digital skills.

Broader and more transferable skills

It is no surprise then that all this is highlighting the need for young people to gain broader and more transferable skills – something Edge has long advocated for. Despite some gloomy findings, there is cause for hope.

For instance, Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, provides an excellent blueprint for how the education sector might adapt. Offering an industry-focused digital skills curriculum, Ada works with partners like Deloitte, Facebook and Sainsbury’s, who provide paid apprenticeships.

This funnels a diverse range of talent directly into the UK’s tech industry – a game-changer for young people moving into growth jobs like software development or data analytics. While apprenticeships have stalled during lockdown, approaches like this will be key to rebuilding the economy post-Covid.

The Green Economy

The green sector is also set to play an important role in the UK’s economic recovery. Research from the Local Government Association found 185,000 people employed in the renewable energy and low carbon economy in 2018. Projections suggest this could climb as high as 694,000 by 2030.

We can also expect to see the greening of existing sectors like construction and healthcare. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, this alone could create more than 200,000 jobs by 2030.

While questions remain about who will drive the change, the government has made eye-catching investment announcements, earmarking £2bn for green homes and £1bn for more energy-efficient public buildings.

Apprenticeships and work-based learning vital to recovery in 2021

More immediately, the OU Business Barometer shows that 48% of employers see apprenticeships and work-based learning as vital to their recovery in 2021 and beyond. It also found that 67% of employers are committed to hiring future employees from more diverse backgrounds. If seen through, this would be a boon for tackling structural and racial inequalities post-Covid.

Meanwhile, the rich findings of recent Learning and Work Institute reports focus on providing effective employment support to the unemployed (including those who were out of work pre-Covid), tying new jobs creation to public investment and upskilling people in these new areas.

As the economic landscape shifts to the new lie of the land, there’s no doubt we are in for a bumpy ride. But with employers becoming more open to apprenticeships as they look to the future, and the pandemic opening minds to new approaches in areas such as assessment, we have a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that young people obtain the skills they need to thrive in the new economy.

Despite the stark short-term outlook, the overriding message is hopeful. With support from organisations like Edge, employers, education providers and government can shape a much brighter future for the next generation.

Let’s not squander this opportunity.

Olly Newton, Executive Director, Edge Foundation

Olly recently chaired a roundtable discussion with key contributors to the latest Skills Shortage Bulletin. You can watch the discussion here.

The Edge Foundation is an independent education charity dedicated to making learning relevant. It works to transform the way young people develop the skills and attitudes they need to succeed in the 21st century. Find out more about their work at edge.co.uk.

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page