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Skills England: Expert comment from Dr Ben Silverstone

Expert comment from Dr Ben Silverstone, Associate Professor, Workforce Transformation Strategy and Policy at WMG, University of Warwick 

Picture of Dr Ben SilverstoneWMG welcomes the establishment of Skills England as a body to simplify and accelerate the skills system in the UK.  As our economy is transformed, over the coming decades, the relationship between industry, education and government is critical in ensuring that the immediate needs of industry are met. Hand in hand with this, the further devolution of skills budgets to local areas will be essential in ensuring that place specific provision can be brought to bear, in a funded capacity, where businesses require support to meet local needs as part of a regional and national strategy.

Investment in the further education system is much needed, and represents a critical, and widespread, recognition of the role that it plays in supporting businesses. The commitment to supporting young people is vital, but this does not go far enough.

There is also a huge number of employees in the workforce in need of re skilling and upskilling - it is critical that the role of further education is not diminished in this capacity.  We call upon the Government to make colleges bastions of industrial capability through skilling the existing workforce.

Finally, the Apprenticeship Levy is in desperate need of change. We welcome commitments to expand its use. Enabling businesses to spend their levy contributions on impactful training, alongside high-quality apprenticeships, will increase investment in the workforce and prevent valuable funding from disappearing from the skills landscape where it goes unspent. We urge the Government to go further, and to allow levy paying organisations to transfer up to 100% of their unspent levy into their supply chain to support an integrated approach to capability development, helping to anchor industry in the UK.

Thu 18 Jul 2024, 11:29 | Tags: WMG Comments Our People Skills

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