APMG ERA Foundation - Retaining Skills post covid-19 downturn

This afternoon, the APPG for Manufacturing (APMG) held a roundtable exploring how we may retain skills throughout COVID-19 downturn, a penultimate within a series conducted by Policy Connect and the ERA Foundation titled ‘Supporting UK Manufacturing in a post COVID-19 World’. 

This event was chaired by Mark Pawsey, who is co-chair of the APMG. Speakers included
•    Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering 
•    David Nash, Director of Strategy and Policy within ECITB
•    Scott Wilkins, Industry Manager from City & Guilds

Dr Hayaatun Sillem discussed the need for a green recovery as we look towards methods of retaining and growing skills from the COVID-19 downturn. She highlighted ‘our skillset is increasingly dynamic, what we want to achieve is better circularity between roles across the economy. We need to be creative in creating interventions to encourage this.’ 

David Nash emphasised that there are existing skills that government and businesses need to hone in on, on top of growing future skills. He also spoke about the need to redeploy the current workforce to meet the challenges of net zero. 

Scott Wilkins then discussed the need for more employer investment and continuation of government incentives – that all employers, individuals, and businesses must play their part to ensure lifelong learning. On the need of wider skillsets, he stated: ‘The job that children now are going to be doing In 20, 30, 50 years do not even exist yet. We need to ensure a breadth of skills now’.

The roundtable discussion span many topics, including how we may understand the current demand for skills, the need for the next generation to have a better appreciation around green and digital, and Andrew Everett, CEO of the ERA Foundation stated: ‘The subjects chosen at GCSE impact A-Level choices and pushes young people to make a binary choice - impacting their future career choices. There is a risk here that we try and pigeonhole young people too early’.

Finally, chair Mark Pawsey closed this session by concluding: ‘For the manufacturing sector to develop grow, we need to encourage young people to make the right career choices – it is key to this issue’.

The next and final roundtable part of this series will explore how commitments can be made for a more inclusive and accessible STEM sector, and will take place on 22nd July, 3-4pm via Zoom. This series will be followed up by a Trifold Report in September.