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Media comment: Further investment in skills is vital for post-Covid recovery

25 November 2020

“We welcome the focus on jobs in the Chancellor’s Spending Review today, but we are concerned that it does not go far enough to tackle the country’s systemic issues such as our faltering productivity, widening skills gap and supporting the levelling up agenda. As we come out of the pandemic addressing these issues will be critical, or they risk becoming more acute in the post-Brexit world.

“Worryingly, CIMA research carried out last week revealed that 84% of UK SME workers surveyed are not currently undertaking skills training or professional development and only 3 in 10 SME workers have undertaken skills training and professional development in 2020. This complacency towards learning and development was a nagging issue prior to the coronavirus crisis and could hamper the country’s long term recovery if attitudes towards learning don’t change. This will require a concerted effort involving the government, employers and employees. 

“To deliver the transformational skills needed for a post-Brexit Britain, we are urging the government to introduce a package of policies to help all workers reskill and upskill. In fact, in our survey 6 in 10 SME workers (60%) said they believe that it would be a good idea to incorporate mandatory training hours in the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). In addition, we support the creation of a rebuttable right to retrain to empower workers to request further training and professional development and changing the Apprenticeship Levy to an Apprenticeship and Skills Levy for all workers to ensure businesses have the talent they need now and in the future. We must act now to develop and build a workforce fit for the post-pandemic world.”

Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA
Chief Executive — Management Accounting
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants