Report from the Commission on Sustainable Learning for Work, Life and a Changing Economy 2018
The Commission was established in June 2018 to explore the UK skills problem, and provide practical recommendations for how the nation’s future skills needs can be met.
It held oral evidence sessions across the UK’s regions and nations, including in colleges and universities, and engaged with politicians of all parties. The work was commissioned by Pearson. Pearson is committed to enhancing the debate and body of evidence that can inform and shape the UK education landscape, and seeks to engage a wide range of stakeholders in what is a national conversation.
The final report provided a set of recommendations for enhancing the education & skills system to put it one step ahead of the needs of the economy, and called for an immediate focus on:
Ensuring the right provision and flexible pathways are available to give individuals the skills they will need to flourish in a rapidly changing economy. 14 to 16 year-olds need broader options, and three clear pathways for 16 year-olds need to offer a choice between an academic route, a career-focused route, and a route that leads them to a particular occupation. Provision for adults needs to be flexible and modular to be easily accessible to those who do not have the time to attend more full-time courses.
Creating opportunities that stimulate and enable lifelong learning. There are five generations in the workforce today, and two thirds of the 2030 workforce have already left full-time education; lifelong learning is required to enable ongoing employability. We urgently need to encourage employers and individuals of all ages to consider training as an ongoing process and instil in them a sense of ownership of their own lifeline learning. An easily accessible online portal for employers looking to find learning experiences and training should be created, and an all-age career advice and guidance needs to be in place.
Invest further and differently in our education system. We call on government to invest more and differently in education; all individuals should be entitled to government-supported provision up to level 3, and a target should be set for education spending to be a percentage of GDP, including raising 16 to 18 funding per student by 5% a year for five years from 2019 which would bring us into line with the OECD top quintile average.. A broad set of measures should be in place to encourage employers and individuals to invest more. These include a tax rebate scheme for both employers and individuals, and personal training accounts for the low-waged.
The report was released in the context of UK competitiveness being under intense scrutiny, with business and consumer confidence lagging.