Advisory & Impact: Strengthening of UK skills base could boost the economy by £108billion

A new approach to education and training, which more adequately prepares people for the world of work and responds to the changing needs of our economy, could deliver £108 billion boost for the UK, according to a new report authored by Bates Wells’ Advisory & Impact team.

Jim Clifford, Katie Barnes and Simon Epsley worked with the Independent Commission on Sustainable Learning for Life, Work and a Changing Economy to produce the report. The commission is chaired by former head of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael and is supported by Pearson.

The report assesses the economic impact of meeting both the demand and supply side challenges and getting skills ‘right’. It finds that securing a top 25% OECD ranking for adult education for the UK could improve the UK’s potential annual growth rate of GDP by 0.1%. This equates to a £108 billion increase in GDP over a 10-year period, or £21 billion a year by 2026.

The comprehensive document serves as a commentary on existing literature, exploring the UK’s current and future skills needs in response to anticipated technological and demographic shifts. It considers the efficacy of responses from policymakers to date, and also examines what is needed to ensure that the UK’s education and training system equips today’s young people and the wider workforce to succeed in a changing economy.

With this report highlighting the key challenges and the considerable economic benefits involved in addressing them, the Commission is now preparing a far-reaching set of recommendations setting out how, in practical terms, it believes the UK can most effectively respond. These proposals will be published towards the end of this year.

Click here to read the full report, and here to read the addendum.

Jim Clifford OBE, partner and head of Advisory & Impact, Bates Wells Braithwaite said:

We are lagging behind many of the OECD Nations we’d like to see as our peers. The economic costs of that are huge. Yet the research shows it will not be fixed by policy changes around qualifications, even if they are part of the answer. It is clear that these supply-side solutions need to be matched with support for employers and whole industries in using those skills well. Whereas around 1% of employment is affected by skills shortages, between 35% and 45% of employees are not using all their skills in the current jobs. Skills development and the systems that support it into the workplace must change.

“Even as that change is met, we cannot stand still. Competitiveness in future will be built not just on great skills, but on the ability to develop and use human skills in a fast-changing environment or technical advances and dwindling natural resources. The challenge is clear – we must now work towards the solutions.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of October 3, 2018.