The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has done vital work protecting jobs. The scheme has supported 9.6 million people in total, with over 6.8 million people still supported by the scheme at the end of June 2020. However, whilst this has been supportive, the threat of mass unemployment still exists. The Bank of England estimates that unemployment could rise to 7.5 per cent by the end of the year, leaving 2.5 million people out of work.
One of the key points from TUC’s Job Retention Deal is to develop the skills of the future, by funding any worker undertaking less than 50% of their normal working time to part in training. In addition, the proposal includes targeting support on the businesses that need it most and encouraging a return to work. This would mean the scheme was supporting viable businesses that can retain the skills of their workforce – but need more time to get back on their feet.
“It’s crucial we take this opportunity to prepare our workforce for the jobs of the future – building a stronger labour market that will support businesses through challenging economic conditions. Organisations will need to think holistically about managing reskilling, upskilling and job transitioning.
As the war for talent intensifies in the post-pandemic circumstances, employee development and talent pooling will become increasingly vital to building a modern workforce that’s adaptable and flexible. Addressing and easing workplace role transitions will require new training models and approaches that include on-the-job training and opportunities that support and signpost workers to opportunities to upgrade their skills. Similarly, investing in digital talent platforms that foster fluidity, by matching workers and their skills with new work opportunities within the enterprise will be key.
Most organisations now understand that by encouraging personal development and providing opportunities to learn a new skill, employees are also more positive and engaged. If we can create good learning habits right now, it will stand us in good stead to be able to carry them through into the future.”