A firm foundation of skills and education needed to ‘Level Up’ the UK

The Levelling Up agenda has set out ambitious goals to improve levels of living standards and incomes across the UK, with regional inequality being a clear priority. Skills and education will undoubtedly need to play a critical role if we are to realise these ambitions.

07 July 2022

Currently, London and the South-East is home to the highest paying jobs and a highly skilled workforce, with many other regions left behind in terms of income and skill levels. In Birmingham, for example, 13% of the workforce currently have no qualifications, compared to just 5% in London.

The government has sought to address this, with new high paying roles in sectors such as transport, green energy and health care. However, if this is to genuinely help ‘level up’ people living in the communities where these jobs are created, we must support people to develop the skills to take on these roles across the UK.

In our recent research we found that just 55% of working age adults felt they had necessary skills to unlock new opportunities over the next five years, and 56% of employers report that they are facing barriers to meeting their skills and talent requirements.

Additionally, the rapid pace of technological and economic change means that skills learned even a few years ago can quickly become obsolete, necessitating a culture of lifelong learning. Without this, the current skills shortage the country is facing (with 1.3 million job vacancies listed at the start of 2022) is likely to be an ongoing issue, with critical industries struggling to source the talent they need.

To uncover how we might address these challenges and create a workforce that had the skills needed for the workplace of tomorrow. take a look at our new Levelling Up report where we explore the challenges and solutions to achieving the goals of the levelling up agenda, and share the stories and experiences of employers who are already taking proactive steps to do so by developing innovative and impactful training and development strategies.

Read the full report

You can also hear from our chief executive Kirstie Donnelly, MBE, on this key topic in the latest episode of our Great Jobs podcast where she’s joined by Lizzie Lyons, Head of Skills at Business West, Venetia Knight, Head of Employment and Enterprise at Groundwork Greater Manchester and Rebecca Durber, Director of Public Affairs at AELP.