TIME FOR ACTION: Skills for Economic Growth and Social Justice

Learning and Work Institute (March 2019)

Read the report here.

This new report from the Learning and Work Institute argues that improvements in the UK’s skills base have stalled and are set to slow further over the next ten years. Since the 2008 financial crisis, economic growth has been slower in the last decade than previously and independent forecasts suggest this could be a permanent fall. According to the authors, the UK’s skills base has long lagged that of comparator countries. Nine million people in England lack functional literacy and / or numeracy. Cuts to public funding for adult skills, alongside falling employer investment has meant that participation in adult learning since the Learning and Work institute began conducting surveys has dropped. By 2030, the UK could fall from 4th to 6th of the G7 countries for low skills, remaining 5th for intermediate qualifications and 4th for higher qualifications. The proportion of people aged 16-64 with either no qualifications or qualifications below level 2 will fall from 26% to 21%. The proportion qualified at Level 2 and 3 will remain stable at 36% and the proportion qualified at Level 4 and above will increase from 38% to 43%. To address these shortfalls in the UK labour market, the Learning and Work Institute recommends an investment of £1.9billion per year until 2030 to help boost informal learning, adult and community learning and on-the-job learning, as well as formal learning in the form of academic qualifications.