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Britain’s productivity has remained static since 2008, and currently stands 22.6% lower than the US’s, 26.2% lower than Germany’s, and 16.3% lower than that of the rest of the G7 nations. The UK is also suffering from a skills shortage that is particularly acute in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) professions, a problem that can only be exacerbated by Brexit and the probable end to freedom of movement. While investment in infrastructure and new technology is essential to improving GDP per hour worked, addressing the skills shortage is key to solving the UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’, and the government estimates that upskilling staff could add 20 percentage points to labour productivity. In an age of automation, big data, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, preparing young people and the wider workforce for the challenges of tomorrow is paramount to guaranteeing Britain’s future competitiveness and prosperity.
A succession of government policies, from diplomas, to T-levels and the apprenticeship levy have sought to address the skills gap and create a more globally competitive, efficient and productive workforce. However, a concerted, joined-up effort and a consistent National Skills Strategy is needed if the UK hopes to improve on its recent productivity record and draw level with its key international competitors. Our discussion at this round table event will explore the policies needed to tackle the skills shortage and productivity crisis.
Rachel Maclean MP, member of the APPG on Skills and Employment
Lord Lucas, member of the APPG on Skills and Employment
Gareth Jones, Chair of Trustees, NOCN
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, L&WI
*Details, date and time subject to change