There has been much discussion recently of the need to prepare workers for changes in the economic landscape, particularly those brought about by the rise in automation, and the government expressed a desire to help those in most need of skills building to retrain and focus on professional development that will prepare them for the future. The government has now launched the National Retraining Scheme, the result of a partnership between the government, the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The scheme will be provided with £100m funding which will allow for continued testing and development, as well as delivering the initial stages of the programme.
The scheme aims to target those most in need of skills development. Those eligible will be employed adults over the age of 24 who do not have a degree level qualification and are earning below a wage threshold that is yet to be decided, but will be considered low to medium on the wage scale. This group is considered to be most in need, as they are less able to access support and need to adapt their skills in order to enjoy the benefits of new job opportunities.
Automation is considered to be both an advantage and disadvantage to workers – it will introduce new jobs, but will also result in an estimated 7.4% of current jobs being lost or partly lost. More worryingly, within the next 10 to 20 years, a huge 35% of current jobs are at high risk of automation. The national retraining scheme will consider the benefits of using new technology and use it to boost economic productivity. Technology will be embedded into the scheme, using a blend of online and traditional learning methods.
The gov.uk website provides plenty of further information on the retraining scheme, including details on the partnership, research that has contributed to its development and the views of those who are likely to use the scheme.