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Lords Industry and Regulators Committee Seeks Views on UK’s Future Skills Needs

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The Industry and Regulators Committee, chaired by Baroness Taylor of Bolton, has launched an inquiry into skills policy, focusing in particular on apprenticeships and training in the context of the skills the UK economy needs for the future. The Committee is seeking written submissions from interested organisations, businesses and individuals to support its inquiry.

Background

Skills policies are policies designed to ensure people have the skills to perform effectively in the workplace, and in turn the economic needs of UK industry more broadly.

The Industry and Regulators Committee has launched an inquiry to examine the UK’s policies and systems for skills, focusing in particular on apprenticeships and training, and in the context of the skills the UK workforce needs for the future. The inquiry will examine whether the UK’s current systems and policies for apprenticeships and in-work training are working and, if not, how they should be reformed. In doing so, the inquiry will consider the responsibilities of government, employers, training providers, and individuals, and the incentives facing these groups.

The Committee held its first oral evidence session on 23 April 2024, with former government ministers and advisers.

Chair’s comment

Baroness Taylor of Bolton, Chair of the Industry and Regulators Committee, said:

“Our inquiry aims to shine a light on the UK’s current skills system, particularly apprenticeships and in-work training, and determine if it is fit for purpose to meet the fast-evolving needs of UK industry.

We encourage anyone with experience or expertise in this area to share their views with us.”

Questions

The Committee is interested in answers to the following questions:

  1. What kinds of skills do you think will be needed for the future of the UK economy? Is the UK’s skills and training system capable of equipping increasing numbers of people with these skills?
  2. Is it clear to everyone involved in the skills system what the respective roles of the Government, employers, individuals and institutions are within that system?
  3. What is the appropriate level of government intervention in the development of skills policies? How can government best add value in this area?
  4. Are current Government policies on skills, particularly apprenticeships and training, sufficiently clear? Have policies and the institutional set-up been sufficiently consistent over time? If not, what changes or reforms would you recommend?
  5. Are the right institutions in place to ensure an effective skills system for the future? Should co-ordinating institutions be national, regional or sectoral, or a mixture of each?
  6. Concerns have been raised over the operation of the Apprenticeship Levy, particularly in relation to the decline in young people taking on apprenticeships. Is there a case for reforming the levy, for example by ring-fencing more levy funding for training for younger apprentices?
  7. What should the role of business be in encouraging the development of skills in the UK? Should business be a consumer, funder, trainer or co-designer of skills provision?
  8. In a more mobile, flexible labour market, what incentives do employers have to provide training for their employees? Why do you think that employer investment in training has declined in recent decades?
  9. Should further incentives be put in place to reverse the decline in employer investment in training, and if so, what form should these incentives take?
  10. What incentives do individuals have to involve themselves in apprenticeships and training? Is the system available and attractive enough to encourage individuals to seek training, and if not, what can be done to improve this?
  11. How does the UK’s approach to skills and training compare to those of other countries? Are there examples of good practice that the UK should be learning from?

Timeline

The Committee invites contributions to its inquiry by 30 May 2023. The Committee will be holding further public evidence sessions in the coming weeks, and aims to report to the House before the summer recess.

Further information

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