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Letter to the editor: skills and lifelong learning must play a significant role in the new Conservative government agenda

13 December 2019

Dear editor,

We must take the election of the new Conservative government and its pledge to establish a right to retrain as well as its commitment to establish a £3 billion National Skills Fund as an opportunity to boost productivity and social mobility in the United Kingdom.

This is a great challenge – and to succeed, we need to invest in both digital transformation and our talent pool. Having a well-trained, tech-savvy workforce able to leverage new and emerging technologies will make or break our success. Yet, a recent report by the Industrial Strategy Council estimates that 20 percent of the workforce will be significantly under-skilled for their jobs by 2030. Worryingly, our own research also revealed that 37% of UK workers don’t feel that they need to learn new skills despite a growing awareness of the impact of technology on jobs. 
 
In order to address our country’s skills gap and deteriorating productivity, lifelong learning, upskilling and continuous professional development need to play a significant part in the new Conservative government agenda. This is why we need to review our national education and skills policies, in particular the Apprenticeships Programme as it currently stands, to expand to provide for reskilling and lifelong learning, and continue to fund higher-level apprenticeships.

Yours sincerely, 
 
Andrew Harding 
Chief Executive – Management Accounting,  
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants