Britain’s Got Talent: Unlocking the demand for skills

John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning
John Springford, Associate Fellow, Social Market Foundation
Geoff Stanton, Independent Consultant and Researcher
Colin Geering, Head of Delivery, City Region Employment and Skills, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Ian Mulheirn, Director, Social Market Foundation

The UK suffers from a growing skills deficit, with the current economic crisis compounding long-standing problems for low-skilled workers. Rising unemployment and cuts to the adult skills budget look set to lock low-skilled people out of productive, high quality work – unless something can be done to effectively match skills provision to demand in the economy. Successive Governments have focused on subsidising employers or individuals. But this has simply led some employers to get free training they would have conducted anyway, or learners taking courses in skills that are of no or limited value in the wider economy.

This publication will look at what can be done to tackle the UK skills deficit, and will present the case for an entirely new approach, using market signals – employment rates and wage levels – to identify and serve the demand for skills.