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Campaigns General Election

Education for an evolving economy

19 May 2017

The composition of the UK economy will evolve as Brexit alters the nature of our trading relationship with the rest of the world. Some industries will decline while others are likely to grow.

The skills demands of employers will consequently change. IoD members already report the lack of appropriate skills in the workforce as their biggest concern. We need to prepare our education and training system for these coming changes. 

Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment & Skills at the IoD, outlines his top 8 points for the politicians to implement after the General Election

1. The next government must consult on ways to incentivise employers and education providers to work together to improve workplace readiness.

2. Government should focus on tackling the teacher shortage crisis which threatens to have detrimental knock-on effects on the pipeline of graduate talent needed by employers, especially science and maths.

3. An expert body, free from political interference, should be appointed to advise schools on subject choice and make curricula more relevant to labour market demands.

4. Westminster and the devolved governments must ensure that all schools have a full-time careers coach and multiple, high-quality work experience encounters should become compulsory.

5. DWP, the Careers and Enterprise Company, Job Centre Plus and other relevant bodies should adapt their work to adult retraining, not just jobseekers. With industries changing so quickly, focussing only on those already unemployed will only solve half the problem.

6. Government should use its WorkerTech programme to seed, find, and back start-ups who can deliver innovative and flexible computer based and virtual reality training services to enable employees and the self-employed to acquire and improve skills.

7. Reform the Apprenticeship Levy to allow employers and the self-employed to provide and use the most appropriate forms of training for their needs.

8. Retraining is expensive. The Treasury should create financial incentives for employers and individuals to invest in adult retraining.  

Ultimately, if the UK is to build a competitive post-Brexit economy, a shift towards a more responsive education and training system will be crucial to ensuring UK workers have the skills they need to succeed in the future labour market.

Education for an evolving economy


Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy

Interested in finding out more? 

Visit our General Election hub here and get involved in the conversation on Twitter #IoDElection

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