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Skills Announcement by PM Stops Short of What’s Needed

Date

30/09/2020

Categories

Enginuity news, Industry news

The PM's skills announcement was cautiously welcomed by industry but stopped short of a National Task Force.

The Prime Minister’s skills announcement is cautiously welcomed because the time has come to recognise the value of skills to underpin business competitiveness, innovation and resilience. Enginuity believes that we need to be able to respond to the opportunities of Industry 4.0 and low carbon technologies and to capitalise on making innovation provide the opportunity to repurpose talent and ensure no one is left behind. Our hope is for more detail in the days to follow, as currently, the skills announcement falls short of industry requirements and indeed may fail to stave off mass unemployment and uncertainty amongst our workforce and moreover a loss of talent from the engineering and manufacturing sector.

Engineering and manufacturing sector specialists Enginuity last month issued a joint call with the TUC, CSEU, Cogent, Make UK and others for the formation of a National Skills Task Force comprising of employers union and skills bodies to combat the worst economic effects of COVID.

Head of Policy & Strategy Dr Jacqueline Hall said: “We welcome the fact that the Government recognises an imperative to act but any response should be within a National Skills Taskforce and a strategic cross-sector approach to skills and job opportunities, harnessing expertise in the spirit of collaboration and targeting to a specific need.”

“Waiting until April next year to introduce new measures may simply be too late – the sector is reeling now from the impact of COVID, for example, haemorrhaging  – 14,000 in aviation alone – talent and skills which could be repurposed rather than lost to our nation’s recovery.

“Enginuity uses data science space to show that in order to upskill does not necessarily mean there is a need for a FULL qualification – even if transferring between sectors, because people have a range of transferrable skills and experiences.

“A targeted approach is a better, more efficient use of the public purse and means that new skills and training can be focussed directly to need. This also means a more agile response as furlough comes to a conclusion and in anticipation of the redundancies and employment uncertainty. This is critical to respond to Industry 4.0, and a green manufacturing recovery.”

Enginuity has issued a plea for a three-point plan to tackle the looming crisis:

  1. A National Skills Taskforce underpinned by a strategy that ensures no one is left behind or excluded from training opportunities and to ensure businesses have the skills needed for a sustainable recovery.
  2. Allow large employers to support their own supply chains through more levy flexibility. A strong resilient supply chain is critical to a sustainable recovery and to ensure they are ready and prepared for the bounce back.
  3. Think about the future skills to respond to Industry 4.0 and a net-zero economy – an incremental change which makes a big difference.

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