Skip to content

The role of skills in post-pandemic recovery


In this white paper, we look at what has changed and is likely to change, and other priorities for education and training in light of the pandemic experience. We conclude by making some recommendations based on our analysis, of what the sector should be asking for.

In a country such as the UK, the education system has been shaped around the learning of facts, exams, and fairly narrow hard skills. Apprenticeships standards have broken the mould to some degree, focusing on the behaviours required alongside skills and knowledge. But we are very far, when we consider schooling, FE and higher education, from delivering what the jobs and socioeconomic challenges of the future need.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) reported in June 2022 that total spending on adult education and apprenticeships fell by 38% in the last decade. Even with recent funding announcements, the IFS calculate that funding will be 25% lower than a decade ago. Apprenticeships have fallen from 200,000 new starts a decade ago to 50,000 new starts today. Is there more that can be done in terms of the structuring and delivery of education and skills?

In 2021, we published the white paper, what is to be done about the UK’s skills deficit? This latest white paper develops those arguments by looking at what has changed and what may be likely to change in the near future.
We look at what other priorities there are for education and training in the light of the pandemic experience. It also examine two countries’ approaches to comparative education and training: Finland and Singapore. We look at why they work, the impact on their economy and society, and what we can learn from them. Finally, we make some recommendations, based on our analysis, of what the sector should be asking for.

What the paper covers:

  • The skills landscape
  • Aligning education and employment
  • State of skills 2022
  • Why do skills matter?
  • Comparative systems of vocational education
  • What can be done about skills in the UK?

Get your copy of the white paper here

Share this post with your friends