The U.K. needs to address its skills shortfall to speed the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, according to government’s Industrial Strategy Council.
A long-term commitment to improving skills by the state in partnership with employers and training providers is needed, the independent advisory group said. Recommendations include teaching managers to better support worker development, creating a culture of lifelong learning and providing policy stability.
The Covid-19 pandemic adds urgency to better training in an economy that is projected to see deepest recession among developed nations. ISC Chair Andy Haldane, who is also chief economist at the Bank of England, will speak about the economy in the second quarter later on Tuesday after new data showed a bigger-than-estimated contraction in the first three months of the year.
Unemployment looks set to soar in coming months and lockdown has helped to accelerate changes in the workplace, such as the growing use of digital technology and automation. Failure to address the issue risks cramping social mobility and widening regional inequality, the report warned.
“Deficiencies in the U.K. skills system are long-standing and deep-seated,” said Haldane. “The recovery from the Covid crisis will be faster and more sustainable if this system can be improved through partnership between workers, employers, training providers and government.”
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