Skills and Employability Summit 2017

One of the great threats posed to the success of the UK economy is the skills gap in the coming generations, this being an issue that the government and companies across the UK are eager to deal with. Estimated to cost the UK economy £63 billion a year, annual events such as the Skills and Employability Summit are important functions to share ideas and methods to remedy the issue.  

Companies and Institutions including Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and The Institution for Apprenticeships (IfA) among others, came together on the 21st September for a day of discussions and seminars with the aim of formulating solutions to the issues emerging in the future UK workforce. The day began by with a seminar from the Chief Executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers Mark Dawe, outlining the key opportunities and challenges for the UK Skills system which pose a threat to the long-term economic growth of the UK. This year, in particular, was incredibly important due to the Brexit vote and the skill shortages that are expected to occur post-Brexit, thus it there needed to be a strategy for how to deal with any further skill shortages in the economy caused by Brexit.

Fears over ever reduced access to skilled workers have led a large number of CFOs to predict that negligible economic growth over the next 12 months will treble to 37%. The same CFOs also believe that the skills gap is, in fact, a greater threat to the UK economy than Brexit, in the long run. Hence why forums such as these annual summits are becoming increasingly important. The day then moved on to discuss the methods proposed to reduce the skills gap, including the promotion of the technology sector amongst school leavers and college students who are considering university, and to increase emphasis on digital skills in schools since one of the primary causes of the skills gap is the lack of knowledge and skills within the technology sector. Additionally, BCS (Chartered Institute of IT) wants to support digital upskilling in this area by encouraging vocational training in the workplace for the estimated 10 million adults who are lacking basic digital skills, with the hope of improving the workforce to be suited for the future of the world and with it the increasingly integral digital aspect of working.

Pearson College London is at the forefront of trying to address the skills gap issue, providing students with the opportunity to work within businesses, where they will see this ins and outs of how a business function whilst learning how to use a variety of business technologies. In addition, new courses such as the Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship further hone in on these missing skills to better equip students for the jobs that are needed in businesses.