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Demand for higher skilled roles rise as skills gaps grow

This week, the CBI, in partnership with Pearson, published its annual Education & Skills survey, Educating for the modern world. The report, pulls together a range of business views on pressing issues affecting education and skills in the UK, such as apprenticeships and technical education, school priorities and lifelong learning. The findings will be used to inform the CBI’s workplan for the year ahead and highlight business concerns to political stakeholders.

Education and skills is a top priority for businesses of all sizes and as the CBI Regional growth report shows, education is the number one driver of productivity and economic prosperity.

The results of this year’s report provide reasons for optimism, but also highlight some significant challenges. One of the findings showed that employers expect to recruit more people over the next 12 months but worry there aren’t enough skilled people to fill the vacancies. Further to this, four in five businesses plan to maintain or increase their spending on training, but there has been a sharp drop in apprenticeship programmes due to challenges resulting from the Apprenticeship Levy. An area that must be reversed if the education system is to prepare young people for the modern world and work, is the number of businesses engaged with schools or colleges which is down by almost 10%.

How we react to these findings is vital – politicians, policymakers, the education sector, and business must all work together to address the issues raised. With driving economic prosperity and social justice as guiding principles, the CBI has four priorities it will work on over the coming years. The first priority is to ensure the education system prepares young people for the modern world and work, the second is to harness the power of business to improve the education and skills system and the third is to encourage the creation of the right conditions for lifelong learning. The CBI’s final priority is to champion our world-class education institutions, including schools, colleges, and universities.

Going forward, the CBI will work with regional colleagues and sector committees internally to produce tailored regional and sectoral breakdowns of the results.

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