Retraining plans for adults in the digital and construction sectors

To help adults across the country to retrain and get the skills they need to succeed in the new economy, the government is partnering with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to oversee a national retraining scheme.

The chancellor Philip Hammond set out his ‘vision for Britain’s future’ with a budget speech on 22nd November, outlining how the government will invest in the ‘technologies and skills of the future’.

In a bid to tackle Britain’s great skills challenge, the formal partnership will invest in digital skills courses and construction training programmes, and will be later expanded to oversee training for other priority sectors.

Earlier in the year, the CIPD called on the government to make skills funding available to tackle low skills in the workplace. It was revealed after the last budget that the UK lay forth from the bottom on the EU league table on participation in job-related adult learning.

The apprenticeship levy was introduced in April this year, and while more efforts have been made to reform education, it was clear that there needed to be a greater emphasis on learning and development in the workplace.

A survey released by the British Chambers of Commerce of UK companies found that 84% of firms think digital and IT skills are more important to their business than they were two years ago, and 76% said they have a shortage of digital skills in the workforce.

£30 million will be invested in digital skills courses, using AI, so that “people can benefit from this emerging technology as they train for digital tech jobs in one of the fastest growing sectors across Britain,” according to a spokesperson for the Treasury.

The retraining scheme will help workers to stay in secure jobs as the economy changes. £34 million is to be invested in construction training programmes across the country, to train people in jobs such as groundworkers, bricklayers, roofers and plasterers.

The budget also detailed plans to build 300,000 new homes in the UK this year, and in order to build the homes that the nation needs, the spokesperson added that “it is vital there are enough construction workers with the right skills to meet this challenge.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general said: “It is the training decisions that take place every day in businesses across the country that will make a difference – so a genuine partnership is needed to get the system delivering effectively for businesses and employees.”

The TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said that “every worker deserves the opportunity to improve their skills and get better qualified for better-paid work. Everyone, in every corner of the country, needs the chance to learn, win promotion, and boost their pay packets,” he said.

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