Lifelong learning key to boosting UK growth and productivity, says OECD

A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has recommended to boost growth, productivity and earnings, the UK should encourage lifelong learning among adults and promote better skills utilisation.

The report, Getting Skills Right: United Kingdom, identifies effective strategies to tackle skills imbalances in the UK. Figures from 2016 show that 15% of 16-19 year olds in Northern Ireland have low literacy skills, ranked 15th out of 23 OECD countries (source: World Economic Forum).

While  educational attainment has been rising in the UK, with 42% of adults having a tertiary degree, compared with 34% across the OECD, challenges remain in matching skill supply with skill demand in the UK. Poor literacy and numeracy continue to impair employment opportunities for many young adults. A high proportion of jobs remain low-skilled while the proportion that are high-skilled remains low relative to the increasing supply of workers with higher level qualifications. Among the countries covered by the OECD Survey of Adult Skills, the UK is only behind Spain in terms of the share of jobs that require lower-level qualifications (22%) while demand for higher level qualifications falls short of supply, with only a third of jobs requiring a tertiary education.

About 40% of British workers are either over-qualified or under-qualified for their job, and the same number are working in a field of study different to the one in which they studied in school. Furthermore, the OECD Skills for Jobs database reveals shortage pressure in knowledge related to education and training, health services and STEM subjects. More efforts are needed to improve skills utilisation and to stimulate innovation and growth in knowledge sectors, says the report.

Among the OECD’s recommendations are that the UK should encourage lifelong learning, with financial loans made more attractive for low-skilled workers by tying repayment waivers to employment in some shortage occupations. It also recommended enhanced awareness about the value of training, with more efforts need to be made to convince employers of the return on investment of training.

The OECD promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Part of their key focuses in to ensure that people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of tomorrow. Verbal’s work with vulnerable young adult groups through their Reading Rooms, Beyond The Walls and Seldom Heard Voices projects helps support and enable young adults to improve their literary and gain essential skills aimed towards employment. Facilitators receiving our OCN Level 2-accredited course Reading Rooms training also receive a Safeguarding Adults course, reflecting Reading Rooms’ respect for the vulnerabilities of the groups with whom they work. Key to Verbal’s work is a belief in the importance of personal development and growth, helping children and adult groups of various backgrounds and experiences.

Partial source: OECD



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