The UK suffers from a chronic skills deficit and the current economic crisis is compounding long-standing problems for low-skilled workers.
The skills policies of successive governments have focused on subsidising employers or individuals to train. But this has simply led some employers to get free training they would have conducted anyway, and learners to take courses that are of no or limited value in the wider economy. Bureaucratic remedies have failed to resolve these problems. This is costly for government, unhelpful for employers, and bad for learners whose efforts to achieve sustainable and good quality employment are too often in vain.
This paper makes the case for an entirely new approach using market signals – employment rates and wage levels – to identify and serve the demand for skills. The SMF’s model puts Further Education colleges in the driving seat empowering them and rewarding them for giving employers the skilled staff they need and boosting the productivity of the UK workforce.