29 September 2020
The Government’s new measures to boost employment opportunities in the post-Covid-19 economy are to be welcomed, and will help transform our skills system for the better. However we must not solely focus on changing policies to be successful, we must also put great emphasis on changing employee’s mindset when it comes to addressing some of the systemic issues exacerbated by the pandemic (e.g. UK’s faltering productivity, widening skills gap and failing social mobility). Worryingly CIMA’s research in 2019 revealed that 37% of UK workers didn’t feel that they need to learn new skills despite a growing awareness of the impact of technology on jobs. This complacency towards learning and development was nagging issue prior to the coronavirus crisis but has now become an acute problem for UK businesses and could hamper our long-term recovery.
If we are to get the economy back on its feet, remain competitive on the global scene and sustain growth, we must now invest wisely into developing a skilled, motivated workforce, think about changing the Apprenticeship Levy to an Apprenticeship and Skills Levy for all workers to ensure businesses have the talent they need now and in the future; continue to invest towards higher level apprenticeships to raise the skill levels of the UK workforce; and introduce a rebuttable right to retrain to empower workers to request further training and development. If such measures are adopted, we might then really be able to drive real-wage growth, address social mobility and become a productive economy.
We are now at a crossroads – the choices we make now will make or break our success.
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA
Chief Executive — Management Accounting
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants