Last updated: 20.06.14

NIACE manifesto 'outlines need to prioritise skills'

A new approach to reforming the learning and skills system has been outlined in a manifesto by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). According to the manifesto, there is urgent need for changes to be made so that the UK can embark upon a skills-led economic recovery.

A report by the OECD published last year suggested that there are too many adults in the UK facing a higher risk of losing their jobs in today's rapidly evolving landscape, due to a lack of basic skills. And this was then followed by the 2014 UKCES Employer Skills Survey, which highlighted that almost ten million employees receive no training at all in their workplace.

In response to these issues, the NIACE has proposed making Secure Personal Skills Accounts for all adults, as well as offering them structured career reviews and giving them more control over their own skills training. To this end, it has called for a stronger partnership between individuals, employers and governments as well as the establishment of a new government team that will be responsible for bringing together the Department for Education, Department of Work and Pensions and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to create a more joined up approach to education and business training.

It also wants an independent review of the long-term skills that will be required by the UK and the funding issues that will be faced, similar to recent national reviews that have been carried out in pensions and social care.

David Hughes, chief executive of NIACE, said: "The country faces huge challenges which require a skills-led recovery but our current skills system is not designed to face those challenges. There will be 13.5 million job vacancies over the next decade, but only seven million young people entering the labour market - skilled adults have to fill that gap."

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