From education to employment

Improved skills needed to meet challenges ahead.

Reducing inequality and promoting the skills and talents of the people of Britain will be crucial in responding to the pressures of global change, according to a new discussion paper, published by the Cabinet Office.

The comprehensive study by the Cabinet Office’s Strategy Unit discusses and identifies nine key challenges and opportunities facing Britain both domestically and globally over the next ten to fifteen years. The themes and issues examined include: preparing Britain for continued success in the world, economic prosperity, unlocking all Britain’s talents, an increasing and diverse population, families and communities, security, personalised public services, climate change and the modernisation and renewal of the constitution and democratic institutions.

The report argues for the need to continue improving the skills of the population at all levels. Not only giving every child the best possible chance to succeed and develop their talents, with access to the best teachers, but helping them to make a successful transition into work or university.

As well as encouraging increased parental engagement in their child’s development, every adult should be provided with improved opportunity, including those with low or no skills who need to be offered second chances to find work and progress. Personalised support needs to be offered to the hardest to reach groups to help them succeed at work, including those with disabilities and illness. Women should be given greater opportunity to succeed in the workplace and reach genuine equality.

Softer skills training including good communication, team working and interpersonal skills will become increasingly important for many jobs. For those that do not go to university, apprenticeship programmes will play a more important role in helping them attain those skills.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “In the coming decades, the underlying issue for our country is how we make the most of the opportunities presented by this new phase of globalisation, reducing the risks it brings and sharing the benefits more broadly. For this reason, I asked the Strategy Unit to assess the key strategic trends facing Britain. Their report presents a detailed analysis and identifies some of the changes that, together, we will have to prepare for.”

The Prime Minister continued, “The report shows us that the real success stories in the coming years will be those nations that harness the skills of their people, attracting more than their share of the top global jobs and mobilising the talents of all. I have referred to this as the Skills Race – a race we can win, and we must win.”

Jason Seebaruth

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