From education to employment

Can the UK fix its Global Skills ranking this election time? FE Soundbite Edition 749

Can the UK fix its Global Skills ranking this election time? FE Soundbite Edition 749

Welcome to FE Soundbite Edition 749, 8th June 2024. Can the UK fix its Global Skills ranking this election time? FE Soundbite Edition 749

This is the weekly e-newsletter and e-journal by FE News: ISSN 2732-4095. We know life is busy, so here is a snapshot of the latest announcements and epic thought leadership articles, from sector influencers and cool thinkers across FE and Skills this week on FE News

Gavin’s Reflective Perspective

Another busy week, the title for Soundbite this week is: Can the UK fix its Global Skills ranking this election time? Which was really inspired by all of the cool reports and exclusive features that we have had this week looking big picture on how we can improve our skills system and productivity long term. As looking big picture… according to the Ambition Skills report from Learning and Work, Supported by City & Guilds and NOCN, of the 39 OECD countries, by 2035 the UK are on track to be 12th for low qualifications, 29th out of 39 for medium qualifications (eg A level equivalent) and 10th for higher education qualifications, down from 6th today.

So we have some improvements to make, particularly for ‘medium qualifications’ and the UK is predicted to slip from 6th to 10th on HE equivalent quals by 2035. So we have this golden opportunity to not look at next year, or to 2029 (the next parliament cycle), but what can we do to long term fix our long term Global Skills ranking this election time?

When we think big picture, the articles from Jill Whittaker on Apprenticeships, Mandy Crawford Lee and Jamie Smith on Degree vs Apprenticeships and having a joined up system. Makes sooo much more sense, especially when we look at future tech, AI and productivity with Richard Foster Fletcher’s article, and Tim Slingsby on the STEM global skills gap and Melanie Brown on how education can tackle Global Sustainability. It brings it into sharp focus, that we have this unique opportunity between now and the election on the 4th July. So I hope you enjoy FE Soundbite this week.

Our Top 3 Thought Leadership Articles This Week

Firstly We’re lagging other countries on skills. We must do better. By Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute highlights the UK’s skills shortage compared to other OECD countries, emphasising the need for increased investment in skills by both the government and employers to reverse the decline and ensure future prosperity.

Secondly Election priorities: Fixing the Apprenticeship Levy By Jill Whittaker OBE is Executive Chair at HIT Training discusses the shortcomings of the current apprenticeship levy system and proposes several changes to make it more flexible and effective, such as modularising apprenticeships, simplifying the Apprenticeship Service, and tailoring English and maths requirements to specific job roles.

Finally From Education to Employment: Action Plan for Future Skills in the Context of the 2024 General Election By Richard Foster-Fletcher, Chair of Morality and Knowledge in Artificial Intelligence (MKAI) outlines a strategic plan for preparing the workforce for the challenges and opportunities of the future, focusing on key sectors like AI, green technologies, and healthcare, while emphasising the importance of upskilling, reskilling, and fostering innovation through robust educational initiatives and public-private partnerships.

This Week, We Have Also Had Some Other Epic Exclusives

Why moving beyond ‘STEM’ might hold the key to bridging the global skills gap By Tim Slingsby, Director of Skills and Education at Lloyd’s Register Foundation

Edge’s response to Labour and the Conservatives’ apprenticeship plans By Alice Barnard, CEO, Edge Foundation

The Importance of Both University and Apprenticeship Programs By Dr Mandy Crawford-Lee FRSA, Chief Executive, University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC)

Beyond the Paycheck: Rethinking How We Measure the Value of a University Degree By Dr Jamie Smith, Executive Chairman of C-Learning

World Environment Day – The Role of FE in Tackling Sustainability Issues By Melanie Brown, Green Skills specialist, The Skills Network

The Future of Education: How AI PCs can Transform Teaching By Louise Quennell, CSG Director, Dell Technologies UK

A Skills and Employability Manifesto to Turbocharge the UK Economy By Alex Glasner, Managing Director, Workpays

What’s New in the World of FE?

We need to talk about entrepreneurship’s image problem By Rebekah Capon, Managing Director at Hatch Enterprise

  • The stereotypical image of an entrepreneur needs to be reformed to show that running a business is a viable career choice for a diverse range of people.
  • Entrepreneurship offers autonomy and flexibility, particularly for underrepresented groups facing barriers in traditional workplaces.
  • Celebrating diverse entrepreneur stories is crucial for building a more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem.

IFS analysis: Labour Proposes ‘Growth and Skills’ levy, reinstating Traineeships as a part of a ‘Youth Guarantee’ By Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

  • Labour proposes broadening the Apprenticeship Levy into a ‘Growth and Skills’ Levy, allowing firms to use up to 50% of their contributions for non-apprenticeship training.
  • This change would increase flexibility for employers but could lead to funding being used for lower-value courses or those that would have been offered anyway.
  • Labour also plans to reinstate traineeships as part of their ‘Youth Guarantee’, aiming for 150,000 new traineeships funded through the levy.
  • The IFS warns that directing training funding to young people is challenging, as employers historically prefer to offer opportunities to employees aged 25 and above.

Labour promises to cut net migration without setting overall target

  • Labour pledges to reduce net migration without setting a target, focusing on improving training for British workers.
  • The Conservative Party and other political parties criticise Labour’s stance on immigration.
  • Business leaders warn that restricting access to overseas workers could hinder economic growth and competitiveness.

Top 3 Thought Leaders of May 2024

  • Check out our top articles last month, Who knows you could be next!

CBI’s 100-day deadline for Apprenticeship Levy Reform By CBI (Confederation of British Industry)

  • The CBI Business Manifesto recommends steps for the next UK government to boost private sector investment and growth, including revitalising ‘Brand Britain’, developing a Net Zero Investment Plan, and building momentum on tax, planning, and labour market reforms.
  • The REC supports apprenticeship levy reform to enable more worker training and a cross-departmental labour shortage strategy.

Learning & Work is calling for a “flex and match” Skills Levy By Learning and Work Institute

  • Government reforms have led to a decline in apprenticeship numbers, particularly among young people and in certain regions of England.
  • Learning and Work Institute proposes a “flex and match” Skills Levy, allowing employers to spend a portion of their levy payments on non-apprenticeship training if they invest an equal amount in apprenticeships for young people.
  • AoC supports the proposal but suggests additional changes, such as allowing colleges to conduct their own end-point assessments and limiting levy funding to Level 5 and below.

    In The Know

    We have heard quite a bit about the Conservative and Labour plans for post-election, next week we are having an Exclusive from the Lib Dems on their plans for Skills.

    We hope you enjoy FE Soundbite this week.

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