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Skills to Drive a Productive Society

Skills for Life Network

This report, researched and written by NOCN in partnership with the Learning & Work Institute, recommends an inclusive National Skills Strategy to increase productivity, improve literacy, numeracy and digital skills levels and help achieve greater social mobility.

The report finds that ‘in any given year around 96% of the workforce is already in place. If the economy is to significantly increase productivity in the short and medium term, the priority has to be to up-skill the existing workforce. This has a profound impact on the skills policies we need to adopt in order to increase productivity.’

The report concludes that ‘If productivity growth remains low it will negatively impact on living standards, social mobility and our ability to fund the public services people want. There is an urgent case for the country focusing its effort on tackling the ‘productivity problem’. It is in the interest of the whole of society.

There are many factors which contribute to productivity such as investment by employers, deployment of new technologies, process and methods changes, and Government infrastructure and public service investment. Under-pinning all of these are skills. The areas where we need to achieve a step change in skills are:

a) Management skills to identify, develop and implement productivity improvements;

b) Employability skills including basic literacy, numeracy, cognitive and digital skills;

c) Technical knowledge, including the use of new materials, methods and technologies’

The report recommends that the ambition for all young people to have good literacy and numeracy should be retained, and that functional skills qualifications should have an important role in this. In addition, local Adult Education Budget funding should be focused on improving literacy and numeracy, with practical Functional Skills programmes being offered. Local funding should also be used to address the digital and cognitive skills needs of the local industry sectors. 

To read the report in full, click here

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