A report published by the Centre for Progressive Policy today (July 7) is calling on the Government to protect the Further Education skills system in preparation for the end of the furlough scheme.
The Government needs to ‘act now’ to ensure millions of people are not locked out of the labour market, according to the report.
Recommendations include a focus on building a high-quality digital learning system rather than the classroom, and the proposed turbocharged Right to Retrain could boost participation and equip 3.3 million people for an inclusive recovery.
Other suggestions cover strengthening existing provision through public funding and the support of living costs for those needing training as well as further incorporating local strategic input, with a place-based programme that reflects the needs of the local area.
Author of the report Andy Norman, has said that upskilling and reskilling the population should be the Government’s top priority and set out the three key challenges faced.
The first challenge is the falling participation and investment, with participation in publicly funding adult skills training down by 37% since 2012/2013 and Government funding for adult education down by 39% in real terms since 2002/3.
The second challenge is the inequality that is apparent in participation, as more engaged individuals are already highly skilled and the negative correlation aligning with deprivation. Apprenticeship participation has also seen a move from young people from deprived backgrounds towards skilled adults.
The third challenge is place-based inequality in skills, with a clear divide across the country as areas covered by the former Red Wall underperforming in comparison to the rest of England.
Andy Norman said:
“If the Chancellor is serious about recovery, he needs to invest in a turbocharged ‘Right to Retrain’, focusing on digital learning rather than the classroom, upskilling rather than standing still and local rather than national delivery.”