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IER researchers contribute to the Government Office for Science Future of skills and lifelong learning Foresight project

The Government Office for Science is looking at how changes in technology and an ageing population affect what skills the UK will need in the future. The project also considers how investment in skills and encouraging lifelong learning can have a positive impact on productivity. This project aims to provide policy-makers with evidence on the current and future state of skills and lifelong learning in the UK. IER researchers have contributed to the evidence base on:

Skills and Lifelong Learning: Gaps in Training Provision - This report looks at current trends and challenges for policymakers in the UK skills system, including how geography affects provision of skills, individual access to skills and training, the role of migration and the role of careers advice.

The UK skills system: how aligned are public policy and employer views of training provision? - This report explores trends and developments in UK skills policy, employer views on training and issues in realising an employer owned skills system.

Gatsby Report on Employer Demand for STEM Apprenticeships

A new report by Lynn Gambin and Terence Hogarth looks at the demand for STEM apprenticeships, the costs and risks incurred by employers taking on apprentices and how these might be mitigated. The report, drawing on evidence from studies carried out by IER since the mid-1990s, highlights that there is demand in the UK labour market for intermediate-level STEM skills which Apprenticeships can help to meet. They note that STEM Apprenticeships can offer substantial returns to individuals and employers, however, the cost to the employer for this form of training is relatively high. Estimates indicate that, at the end of the training period, an employer that has delivered a Level 3 Engineering Apprenticeship will have incurred a net cost of around £40,000. It can take an employer around three years after the end of formal training period to recoup this investment. The report also considers how the employer's risk on investing might be reduced and more employers thus encouraged to take on apprentices. You can now download the full report, Employer Investment in Intermediate-level STEM Skills: how employers manage the investment risk associated with Apprenticeships.

Lynn Gambin at Policy-UK forum on Apprenticeships

Lynn Gambin will be chairing the second session at a Policy-UK forum on 10th March 2016 at the Royal Society of Chemistry, London. The forum, 'Creating a generaton of Apprentices - funding, quality and a route to employment', is scheduled to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week 2016 and will provide delegates with an opportunity to hear the latest progress and policy priorities aimed at ensuring young people have the skills required by employers. With the Government committed to creating 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020, this for will consider how these new apprenticeships will be funded, what can be done to ensure their quality, particularly since concerns have been raised by Ofsted about the number of apprenticeships being awarded for ‘low-level’ skills (examples include tea making and cleaning floors), as well as how to encourage more employers to provide training and qualifications for young people, including the success of Trailblazer groups. Delegates will also discuss the availability of Higher Level apprenticeships and how their status can be improved and recognised as an alternative to university, as well as assessing whether the post-apprenticeship route into employment is adequately defined and supported.

IER's Lynn Gambin will chair the second half of the event which includes sessions entitled 'Are apprenticeships delivering for young people?' and 'What employers want - do apprenticeships address the skills shortage?'.

Details of the event can be found at here.

Latest IER report on Apprenticeship considers employer response to funding reforms

A new report by researchers from IER and IFF Research has been published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The report, 'Employer Routed Funding: Employer responses to funding reform' (BIS Research Paper Number 161), explores how employers’ engagement with the apprenticeship programme would vary depending on how funding is reformed.

Expert Workshop - methodological issues in estimating returns to Higher Education, Further Education and Skills

IER and Cambridge Econometrics are currently undertaking a review of the literature looking at seven key methodological issues in estimating returns to Higher Education, Further Education and Skills. The project is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

As a part of the project, a one day workshop is being hosted at the University of Warwick and is being chaired by Prof Peter Elias (IER). A number of academics will come together to hear findings from the review and to discuss their views and experiences of these issues. The aim of the study and the workshop is to set forth recommendations for BIS (and others) to utilise in future analysis so that the estimated economic value added of different forms of learning are robust and representative of the true underlying returns.

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