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Business expert says government’s skills announcement will address ‘mismatch in skills ecosystem’

A leading business expert has welcomed the government’s announcement of a new ‘lifetime skills guarantee,’ to boost employment and underpin the UK’s post-Covid recovery.

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, believes the announcement has the potential to plug significant skills gaps in some of the country’s key sectors, by helping meet the demand for skilled workers.

He said: “The government’s announcement of a Lifetime Skills Guarantee is a welcome one and comes at an important time for the UK.

“For a long time I have argued that there is a mismatch in the skills ecosystem between supply and demand and any policy that seeks to address this systemic issue in our economy is very welcome.

“However there is much more we can collectively do to tackle this issue, especially given the current Covid-19 situation and economic and geopolitical uncertainty.”

The lifetime skills guarantee aims to make it easier for people to access education and vocational training to equip them with the skills needed to enter key professions.

It is hoped the initiative will play a role in Britain’s post-Covid economy by supporting employment and job creation.

Professor Beer said: “With the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and imminent changes as we leave the EU, now is the time to commit to ensuring high quality skills for our country and its workforce to equip people across the UK with the knowhow and capabilities to grow our key sectors and boost our economy. 

“Here in the West Midlands we have a proud history of leading growth in areas like engineering and manufacturing from the dawn of the industrial revolution to today, and this package will help ensure our residents can harness this strength and make sure the region punches its weight.

“Universities, colleges and other education providers have a key role to play in training the future workers of the West Midlands and beyond and this commitment will go a long way in helping us achieve that goal.” 

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