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The Levelling Up Commission Inquiry Session: Education Skills and Training

Quantum technology: the UK's vision

Curia’s Levelling Up commission is holding an Education Skills and Training inquiry session. Bringing together members of national, regional and local government with civil society, industry and the education sector, the questions and topics covered in this session will be key in shaping the recommendations of the commission, and will impact a report that will be presented to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Chaired by the Former Shadow Minister for Social Care and Mental Health and Former Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Paula Sherriff, the session will feature leaders in the space of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provisions (AP) and Education Technology.

The Levelling Up commission

The commission understands Levelling Up as “the process of extending opportunities, improving wellbeing and reducing inequalities to empower citizens across the UK, through reducing disparity in resources and access to services. It involves concerted effort to bridge the gap between different regions and communities, with the ultimate goal of creating a more equitable and prosperous society.”

The Levelling Up Commission intends to consider ways to implement the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper and subsequent Bill from the perspective of local and regional government. Too often the Levelling Up agenda is something being done ‘to and for’ local and regional government, the Commission intends to make sure it is done ‘with and by’ them.

Through roundtable meetings with MPs and senior leaders of local and regional government from across the UK, quantitative data analysis and regional sprints, the Commission intends to set out a series of recommendations to consider how regional inequalities can be reduced from the perspective of public services.

Education skills and training session

Chaired by the former Shadow minister for Social Care and Mental Health and Former Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Paula Sherriff, the Education Skills and Training Session will take place over a two-hour sitting. The panels will be divided across three areas of focus which will be discussed over 40-minute-long sessions.

The final session will look at skills for growth. Building on the first two panels, the last panel looks at how an individual’s trajectory from education into employment can be facilitated through vocational and skills support.

At the juncture of education and employment, many individuals find themselves ill equipped with tools and skills needed to support specific career pathways and employment opportunities. With existing challenges of skills shortages in manufacturing and industry, it is essential to look at these gaps and understand how services can address them, boosting the economy and bringing down inequalities.

With globalisation and the changing nature of employment heavily looking towards areas such as Net Zero and green skills, technical and digital skills are strong requirements in the labour force and within the broader levelling up agenda. Here, appropriate knowledge and capability building through vocational programmes, apprenticeships and skills for innovation and businesses are essential. With latest ONS data reflecting the need for improved skills to address high job vacancies, this discussion will aim to identify how this gap can be addressed and what skills are needed for UK’s future.

Addressing Skills Shortages

In the wake of the pandemic, the ability of individuals to enroll into vocational training and apprenticeships has been significantly affected. The Government Office for Science in 2021 published data on the state of apprenticeships starts and skills in the UK, highlighting the slowdown in the sector post pandemic. Data published on skills showed a decrease in apprenticeship starts in England after the introduction of the new Funding system in May 2017. This further fell between 2018-2019 due to the impact of the lockdown.

The data also showed that the pandemic had a disproportionate negative impact on apprenticeship starts for individuals aged 19 and under and those starting at intermediate levels apprenticeship. In absolute terms, there were 322,500 apprenticeship starts in 2019-2020, 70,900 lesser than 2018- 2019.

In terms of adult participation learning, the 2019 Adult Participation Learning Survey recorded the lowest participation rate in the 23-year history of the survey where 38% of individuals say they have not done any learning since laving full time education. On skill shortage vacancies, the report recorded more vacancies than at any point in the Employers Skills Survey since 2011 that were providing hard to fill due to lack of qualifications, relevant skills or experience.

Curia’s Levelling Up Commission

Through roundtable meetings with MPs and senior leaders of local and regional government from across the UK, quantitative data analysis and regional sprints, the Commission intends to set out a series of recommendations to consider how regional inequalities can be reduced from the perspective of public services in four key areas:

Health and Social Care

Housing and Homelessness

Education, Skills and Training

Crime, Justice and Rehabilitation

Join the Education Skills and Training session here:

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