According to a report by the CIPD, lifelong learning and upskilling the current workforce is crucial to helping businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reacting to a report of the Independent Commission on the College of the Future, which called on colleges to receive more support and funding so that employers can provide lifelong education and training in the face of a shifting economy and job market, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive Officer of CIPD, said that upskilling was of “critical economic and societal importance”.
“FE colleges should play a major part in this with their natural community connection and focus on vocational and employability skills, and through enabling lifelong learning. Building stronger partnerships with employers and with proper funding, now is the time to reinvigorate this sector for all our futures,” said Cheese.
The College of the Future report said that education and skills policies required drastic change to allow more people to train, develop, or acquire new skills. It cited recent research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which found that 9 out of 10 employees would need to reskill by 2030, and indicated that Covid-19, Brexit, and increased automation would contribute to a need for greater access to further education and training.
The report proposes that colleges be encouraged to establish a unique service for local employers to educate and train potential and current employees, and suggests setting up sector-specific ’employer hubs’ to resolve skills shortages and provide companies with a forum to train current employees and find the qualified staff they need as well as innovation support.
Also, it proposed that colleges collaborate with business groups and employers to design appropriate curriculums. This would prevent unproductive competition between institutions and ensure that everyone has access to high-quality education.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said the report challenged the government, employers, and colleges to build a new and effective system.
“It places colleges at the heart of their communities and leading in local labour markets. It asks employers to work in long-term partnerships with colleges to develop the human capital for their businesses to be successful,” said Hughes.
We must all dedicate ourselves to be ambitious when it comes to upskilling. Lifelong learning is the best way to ensure that individuals and companies survive the recession and succeed in the future. With proper support, colleges can fulfill this urgent need for every community.