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Reform of government skills policies recommended


The UK is living on 'past glories' and its economy risks sliding down the international rankings unless the skills of 10m workers are improved, according to experts.

In response to the coalition government's launch of its 'Skills for Sustainable Growth' consultation document last week, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has released a report entitled 'Ambition 2020', which recommends fundamental reform of the country's existing skills and employment policies.
The organisation claims that, unless the skills levels of a huge 10m workers are enhanced, the UK – currently the sixth largest economy in the world - will fail to achieve its ambition of being in the top eight countries for skills, jobs and productivity by 2020. At current levels of progress, only half that number of workers will see their skills boosted.
Chris Humphries, chief executive of the Commission, said: "At the moment, our economy is still world-class – quite an achievement for such a small island. But we're living on past glories. Economic success rests on three legs – skills, jobs and productivity – and we are well below average on the first of these."
As a result, 'swift and decisive' action was required or the UK economy would inevitably begin to slide down the international rankings, he added.
To avoid this situation, the report recommended improving the information, advice and guidance provided to learners, in part by making it mandatory for all colleges and universities in receipt of public money to collect and publish destination and earnings data.
More funding and decision making should also be devolved to frontline organisations such as local employment partnerships. Public funds should likewise be focused on boosting basic and lower level skills, with action taken to stimulate higher levels of joint investment by employers and individuals.

Finally, the new cap on non-EU immigration should be exploited to ensure that jobs were taken up by appropriately skilled indigenous workers, the report said.

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