UK ‘Lagging Behind’ Competitors For Literacy, Numeracy & More

UK ‘Lagging Behind’ Competitors For Literacy, Numeracy & More

When it comes to key skills, it seems as though England and Northern Ireland have a lot of work to do in order to ensure that the country weathers the Brexit storm well, especially if it is to face restrictions on talent coming in from outside the UK.

This is according to the latest report from HR and people development organisation the CIPD, which has found that 20 years of failed policy regarding skills and under-investment has seen the UK rank in the bottom four Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries for literacy and numeracy among those aged between 16 and 24.

Other areas in which the country has fallen behind include learning and development, and digital skills, with the CIPD now issuing a stark warning that the country is now heading into a low-value, low-skills economy which will leave it ill-prepared for the future after Brexit.

It was found that out of 19 countries, the UK is ranked at the bottom with regard to computer problem-solving skills among young people, while employers in the UK spend less on training than other major EU economies, with the gap widening since 2005. What’s more, the UK is fourth from the bottom of the EU league table where participating in job-related adult learning is concerned.

“While more efforts are being made to reform education, it’s clear that there needs to be a much greater emphasis on learning and development in the workplace. As we move towards Brexit, and possible restrictions on overseas talent, it’s crucial that government works in partnership with education providers and businesses to address these deep-rooted issues that continue to blight individual and business potential,” skills adviser for the CIPD and co-author of the report Lizzie Crowley said.

The CIPD is now calling on the government to prioritise providing additional skills funding for the workforce, reframe the Apprenticeship Levy as a training levy, ensure skills are put firmly at the heart of the Industrial Strategy, and to encourage businesses to raise their ambitions and invest more in ongoing skills and workplace learning.

A few weeks ago, the chief executive of the CIPD Peter Cheese commented on the triggering of Article 50, saying that it’s essential for both companies and the government to gain a greater understanding of the operations of the UK’s workforces, working out what skills will be needed today as well as tomorrow – and identifying the barriers that are getting in the way of productivity.

He described this as a “pivotal moment” to address the failings within the skills system in the UK for work readiness, support and basic numeracy and literacy skills. In the past, easy access to EU workers has helped to mask these issues, but with overseas talent expected to decline these failings will be laid bare for all to see.

If you feel like your workforce could be further supported, get in touch with us to find out more about our complete training for Microsoft Word 2013 courses.