At this year’s London Labour Conference, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has partnered with Speakers for Schools to hold an open fringe panel discussion: ‘Bridging the Skills Gap: a blueprint for prosperity?’
Labour’s first mission should they form the next government is to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7, with good jobs and productivity growth in every part of the country to make everyone better off. To do so, the importance of skills provision cannot be underestimated. Indeed Labour’s own mission paper recognises this; one of the five key shifts to achieve growth is to “give working people skills and opportunities – not leaving potential untapped.”
The current skills shortages in the UK are well-documented. To take a couple of examples, in August 2022, the Federation of Small Businesses found that 80% of small firms had difficulty recruiting suitably skilled applicants in the last twelve months, while a report from the Industrial Strategy Council reveals that 20% of the workforce will be significantly under-skilled for their jobs by 2030.
Within this context, it is critical to consider how education, business and national and local government can work together to kick start growth and upskill the current and future workforce, supporting young people to grasp opportunities and build fulfilling careers that can be flexible in the face of rapidly shifting workforce demands.
Recognising the current caution around public spending, this timely panel will bring together politicians, education and business leaders to discuss potential low-resource policies to support young people to develop the skills they need to join the workforce and close skills shortages, including developing meaningful work experience opportunities and building stronger links between education institutions and local employers to grow pipelines of talent. Panellists will also consider possible solutions to current issues in accessing government funding and programmes, such as devolving responsibility, Labour’s proposed ‘Growth and Skills Levy’ and wider potential uses of pupil premium funding.
We are delighted to welcome Nick Brook, Speakers for Schools; Muniya Barua, BusinessLDN; Oli de Botton, The Careers & Enterprise Company and Joanne McCartney, London Deputy Mayor for Children and Families, to the panel. More speakers to be confirmed. Natalie Perera, EPI’s Chief Executive, will chair the session.
**This event will take place inside the conference secure zone. To purchase a pass, please contact London Labour directly.**