Skills and employment support in England should be more targeted to local needs, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
A new report commissioned by the LGA, which represents councils in England, claims that six million people risk being without a job or in work they are over-qualified for by 2030. And it estimates that not meeting the skills needs of employers could lead to a potential loss of £120bn in economic output by the end of the decade.
The research for the LGA by the Learning and Work Institute (L&W) suggests that by 2030 there could be:
- 5.1 million low-skilled people chasing 2 million low-skilled jobs – a surplus of 3.1 million low-skilled workers;
- 12.7 million people with intermediate skills chasing 9.5 million jobs – a surplus of 3.1 million people; and
- 17.4 million high-skilled jobs with only 14.8 million high-skilled workers – a deficit of 2.5 million.
According to the LGA, the current centrally-governed skills and employment system is “confusing, fragmented, untargeted and ineffective”.
Instead, the LGA argues, councils, combined authorities and their partners can help the UK Government tackle skills gaps and more effectively reduce long-term unemployment and the number of young people out of work by being able to target support locally.
The organisation called for the Government to use the next Budget to devolve all back-to-work, skills, apprenticeship, careers advice, and business support schemes and funding to the local areas in which they are used.
“Better local coordination of services would provide better opportunities for young people to increase their skill levels and adults retrain and upskill for future jobs,” said Councillor Kevin Bentley, chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board. “This is key to driving up productivity, closing local skills gaps and boosting local economies.”
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