Government uses Policy Connect's evidence to support its case for change in Skills For Jobs White Paper

Government's Skills for Jobs White Paper uses Policy Connect's evidence on the need for a clear articulation of local as well as national skills needs to make recommendations on greater local involvement in skills planning, including by employers and businesses.

Our Skills Commission report published in March 2020, England’s Skills Puzzle, was cited three times in the White Paper, and the paper’s proposals chime with a number of our report’s recommendations. This includes our recommendations on seed-funding collaborative projects between education providers and employers; a campaign to encourage tradespeople to retrain as FE teachers; better labour market information; and ensuring that skills provision is led by the needs and insight of employers.

Policy Connect hosted a parliamentary first-reactions meeting in response to the government’s new Skills for Jobs White Paper. This event was chaired by Sir John Hayes MP (pictured), the Co-Chair of the All-Party Group for Skills and Employment and featured leading voices from Parliament, the education sector and industry, including:

  • David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges
  • Stephen Timms, Labour MP
  • Kirstie Donnelly, Chief Executive of City & Guilds
  • Lord Lucas, Conservative peer
  • Ian Paisley, DUP MP
  • Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP
  • Martin Rimmer, CPO at Cadent Gas
  • Bhavina Bharkhada, Senior Campaigns & Policy Manager at Make UK
  • Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering & Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Fiona Aldridge, Director for Policy & Research at Learning & Working Institute.
  • Jonathan Shaw, Chief Executive of Policy Connect

The discussion welcomed the new Skills for Jobs White Paper’s commitment to increasing the role of employers in the skills system and advancing towards establishing a life-long learning system in the UK. While the White Paper made strides in the right direction, panellists insisted more could be done to develop adult learning provision, improve regional skills provision and digitise learning. The reduction of the Spending Review’s scope to a one-year time frame appears to have limited the ambition of the White Paper. Panellists were optimistic a longer-term settlement in conjunction with a multi-year Spending Review would enable more extensive reforms to be implemented.

We should give this new White Paper a warm welcome, for beginning to change the narrative on further education and skills in this country. The passion of industry, further education and skills providers will be crucial to making the new initiatives a success” – Sir John Hayes MP

We would like to thank Sir John Hayes and our panellists for a lively debate. We look forward to welcoming our attendees to another Policy Connect event in the future. To follow reactions from the event, please use the Twitter hashtag: #SkillsForJobsFirstReactions