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IER Newsletter - July 2020

IER Newsletter - July 2020

Industrie 4.0 Policy brief published

Beyond 4.0 is a Horizon 2020 project examining the future of work and welfare in Europe. Chris Warhurst of IER and Steve Dhondt of the Dutch innovation organisation TNO have just published a Policy brief outlining the opportunities and challenges with Industrie 4.0 as part of the project. The policy brief is available here.

Listen to Clare Lyonette talking about her new project assessing the Covid-19 related burden on working-class women

Professor Clare Lyonette was interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham on Thursday July 16th about her new UKRI-funded project 'Carrying the work burden of the Covid-19 pandemic: working class women in the UK'. Listen to the interview here, starting at around 11.20 am.

The project, led by Professor Tracey Warren from the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Professor Clare Lyonette and the Women's Budget Group is being funded under the Covid-19 programme. Using new Covid-related questions from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, the research will assess how working-class women, who already juggle paid employment with the bulk of housework and childcare responsibilities, have been affected by the additional pressures of increased demands, both at home and at work. Read more in the University of Warwick press release here.

Online learning for careers guidance community

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic and ongoing, Dr Sally-Anne Barnes and Professor Jenny Bimrose have been drawing upon their latest research to support the international careers guidance and counselling community by delivering online learning via a number of webinars.

Nearly 400 practitioners from professional associations and government departments from across the world have participated in the webinars and are drawing upon IER research to inform their practice. Webinars have covered recent research on how to support parents and carers in providing careers support, careers labour market information, and lifelong guidance policy and practice.

Congratulations to Dr Lorraine Johnson and Dr Jeisson Cárdenas-Rubio

We would like to congratulate two of our former students who were awarded their doctorates last week, Dr Lorraine Johnson and Dr Jeisson Cárdenas-Rubio.

Dr Johnson interviewed women about their transition from public sector work during a period of austerity, focusing on the intermediary systems they used. Lorraine’s research evidenced the range of support systems used to aid transitions and provided a number of recommendations for careers practice. Lorraine is currently undertaking an early career fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Warwick.

Dr Cardenas-Rubio investigated to what extent a web-based model of skill mismatches could be developed for countries where the information on the labour market is relatively scarce. Jeisson’s research drew upon innovative methods in web scraping, big data analytics and machine learning to produce labour market information for Columbia that was analysed to provide a picture of the Columbian labour market. We are pleased that Jeisson joined the IER team earlier this year.

Covid-19 blog series: Keep up the good work – planning a way out of the Covid-driven jobs crisis

Not even out of the health crisis, the UK is entering a jobs crisis. New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows a mixed picture of employment but with strong indications that employment is set to fall. The UK Government has done well to maintain employment levels, yet it needs to create jobs and the temptation will be to create any jobs, rather than good jobs.
In this blog Chris Warhurst argues that if the UK Government wants to address the impending jobs crisis, it should keep to its plan to create more good work and look at the evidence, with some insights being presented in this blog. Good work can help companies be more competitive, improve employees' quality of life, level up the regions damaged by previous economic recessions and help the government build back better. Read more here.

Covid-19 blog series: Job growth and job quality - Harnessing the potential of the Social Economy in the post-Covid recovery

Social economy enterprises (SEEs) – such as cooperatives and social enterprises – comprise around 7% of UK employment. A recent study published by IER found that SEEs weathered the storm of the 2008 Financial crisis better than other enterprises and were able to deliver inclusive growth, sustainable development and higher quality jobs. Moreover SEEs in Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK provided faster jobs growth compared to other organisations. The resilience and jobs growth of SEEs in the wake of the 2008 Financial crisis should therefore be harnessed to support the current pandemic economic recovery, Peter Dickinson argues. This is also being recognised by the OECD and European Commission. This blog presents policy pointers identified in the IER study to support SEEs, many of which are relevant to the current situation. Through supporting and promoting SEEs, local and regional agencies can maximise the benefits of more and better quality jobs, and inclusive economic development. Read more here.

Covid-19 blog series: What might happen to Apprenticeships in England during the Covid-19 economic downturn?

Apprentices are employees of the companies that train them. It stands to reason that if employment falls then the number of apprentices will fall. But looking back to the 2008 economic crisis, it is apparent that the number of apprentices actually increased, in large measure due to the apprenticeship programme expanding its occupational coverage. This time around it looks as if apprenticeships will have little fertile ground to feed any further expansion. Other things being equal it seems reasonable to expect the number of apprentices to show a potentially precipitous fall, at least over the short-term.
Against this background, Terence Hogarth and Lynn Gambin, Associate Professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, assess the trends in apprenticeship starts in England in the last 3 years, take a closer look at the Government support for VET during the crisis, and argue the case for avoiding mistakes of the past should any recession prove protracted.
Read more here.



Mathieu, C., Wright, S., Boethius, S. and Green, A. (2020). 'Innovations on a shoestring: Consequences for job quality of public service innovations in health and social care', European Journal of Workplace Innovation, 5(2): 4-30.

Beck, V., Fuertes, V., Kamerāde, D., Lyonette, C. and Warren, T. (2020, forthcoming in August) ‘Working Lives’, in M. Parker (ed.) Life after Covid: the other side of the crisis. Bristol University Press.


New projects

Covid-19 - Employer Incentives for Apprenticeships - Review of evidence - Skills Development Scotland

Find more information on IER's current projects.
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