Educators & Employers Urged To 'Act Boldly & Decisively' to Tackle Skills Gaps

Employers, Government,  further education and careers organisations have been urged to 'act boldly and decisively' to initiate a culture change in the careers sector.

With a considerable mismatch between jobseekers and vacancies the National Careers Council (NCC) report on careers provision recommends steps to improve the link between education and employment.

Businesses are still struggling to fill vacancies despite high unemployment levels - 51% of organisations were not confident that they could fill highly skilled jobs. The skills available do not match the labour market and organisations have called on the government to boost workforce skills.

Skills mismatch

The skills sector is not just about helping someone get back into work, it is about equipping them with the skills they need for long-term employment outcomes and career progression.

The report pinpoints careers advice and guidance as one of the key areas to success if we want to fix this skills mismatch. Learners need to be heading in the right direction from day one, making better decisions as to best course match means less time is invested in unused skills, less 'churn' through education and improved employment pathways. What are learner’s aspirations in the context of the real jobs market, can their learning aims and can theses be matched to courses?

Careers support can be crucial to positive outcomes and it is important to offer tailored careers support for different learner groups - for example over 50s, low pay workers and those returning to work will all have different needs.

 "Skills have become the global currency of the 21st century" - (OECD 2012)

With diverse career opportunities in the labour market, learners are not always aware of all the options available to them or the skills they will need in this area. Qualifications with a 'clear line of sight' to work offer learners greater confidence in training; putting what they are learning into the context of a real job outcome.

Increased flexibility and variety of jobs has resulted in many no longer considering a job for life, making career changes several times. On top of 'tailored skills' it is important to offer strong life long employability skills which will make users adaptable to career change.

People return to training repeatedly throughout their working lives; to further their current job, top up their skills, to find a new role or to help with a complete career change. Archiving records will help to improve the service offered when they return. With existing knowledge of their learning journey, you will know where they have been and have greater insight to advise them forward. 

"It falls to careers services to respond to such change and make sure that both young people and adults get the help they need to thrive in the flexibilities and opportunities offered by the new working world." - NCC

Read the full report A National Aspiration; Creating A Culture Change In Careers Provision 

Tor Macleod 15:13

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