Experts Call for Reform of UK’s Skills System to Boost Economy

Experts this week warned that the UK’s economy – currently the sixth largest in the world – is set to slide down the international rankings unless its skills and employment systems are fundamentally reformed and improved. The report, Ambition 2020, published this week by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, says that an extra 20 million people need to improve their skills if the UK is to achieve its ambition of being in the top eight countries in the world for skills, jobs and productivity by 2020. It also calls for an increase in the number of apprenticeships available for young people and adults; for prospective students to be given more and better information about the range of courses and qualifications on offer; and for more encouragement for businesses to create highly-skille... »

UK Skills Shortfalls Need to be Fixed

Last week the UK Commission for Employment and Skills brought together over 40 of the world’s leading employment and skills experts for a two day conference to help tackle the serious shortcomings of the UK’s competitiveness in the world economy. Despite the economy having just emerged from recession, the UK Commission’s figures indicate the UK falls well short of the international competition in several key areas: The UK is ranked 17th on ‘low’ level skills; 18th on ‘intermediate’ level skills and 12th on ‘high’ level skills 1 in 8 adults of working age have no qualifications More than a quarter of working adults are not qualified to GCSE level or equivalent Half have no qualifications above GCSE level The report, ‘‘Ambitio... »

Skill Up or Rank Down

Recent research by the Government’s watchdog for Education and Skills has revealed that if we do not take strong and immediate action, by 2020 we are likely to rank 23rd on low-level skills, 21st on intermediate skills and 10th on high level skills. In reaction to these worrying predictions the UKCES have announced Ambition 2020. This is an agenda for effective action over the next five years in regards to Employment and Employment Skills. Significantly, Ambition 2020 is based around the notion that the UK’s strategy must focus not only on how to survive the recession, but on how to achieve world-class standing in employment, productivity and skills in the years ahead. It will require a serious and sustained effort and bring together the resources and expertise of the public, p... »

Chris Humphries advises Small Businesses on Skills Training

Skills Czar Advises on Training

Small Business News – 13th January 2009 A former Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce has warned the Government against using training initiatives as a method of massaging unemployment figures. Citing both Labour and Tory mistakes made during recessions in both the 1970s and 1990s respectively, Chris Humphries, CEO of the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (UKCES) advises that training needs to be far more objective than it has been in the past, urging that "we must not make the same mistake again". By ensuring that skills training is geared toward longer-term improvements, Chris Humphries advises that training for skills that are both correct & relevant is the best approach for dealing with a recession and for emerging at the end of an economic do... »