The authors argue that the UK adult skills system is built on flawed assumptions and in the past, has not been responsive to industrial change. The current system favours supply-side boosts to improve skills levels of the population and thus support progression in increasingly competitive and unstable labour markets. In an effort to support adults, employers and communities to adapt to these changes and thus increase productivity, pay and enable progression, supply-side activities need to be complemented with initiatives to increase employer interest in workplace learning.
Recommended actions include:
- Expanding the Apprenticeship Levy into a ‘Productivity and Skills Levy’ to provide a £1.1 billion regional fund to drive skills devolution.
- Introducing a ‘Personal Learning Credit’ worth up to £700 a year for low-paid, low-skill workers to help people invest in their future careers.
- Supporting both demand for and utilisation of skills as part of a modern industrial strategy, including by establishing strong sectoral institutions to drive a collective commitment to skills and productivity.
- A ‘Productivity Commission’ should be established to lead a national mission to boost job quality and workplace performance.
- Introducing a ‘Personal Retraining Allowance’ of £2,000 to support low-skilled workers made redundant to return to the labour market and establishing a cross-government framework should identify and monitor industries in transition.