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Professor Becky Francis and Sir Vince Cable launch report on non-university skills gap

6 December 2017

Routes to Opportunity report launch - UCL Grand Challenge of Justice and Equality

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Director Professor Becky Francis and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable have launched a report on access to technical and vocational education for over 25s in England.

The UCL Grand Challenges event ‘Routes to Opportunity - Addressing the non-university skills gap’ focuses on a report prepared by Aly Colman, IOE Doctoral candidate, which investigated the mid-level skills gap some employers face and routes to undertaking technical and vocational education for the over 25s in England.

The three panellists analysed the report’s findings which suggested that workers are remaining in low-paid low-skilled jobs due to lack of funding. This simultaneously results in employers struggling to recruit staff with the right skills and a missed opportunity to address the skills gap.

Sir Vince Cable - Routes to Opportunity report launch - UCL Grand Challenge of Justice and Equality

The findings indicate that those who would benefit the most from upskilling or retraining, such as low paid workers in unskilled jobs (the so-called “missing middle”), are often unable to do so because insufficient opportunities and funding are available. Even where support and funding is available, such as advanced learner loans, many potential learners are unaware of it.

The report also warns that the Brexit vote is already discouraging EU workers in medium skilled occupations from staying in the UK or moving to the UK. Should hiring EU workers with mid-level skills become more difficult in future, this could exacerbate the problems currently faced.

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Rowan Walker
rowan.walker@ucl.ac.uk
+44 (0)20 3108 8516