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CIMA calls on the UK Government to do more to reskill and upskill the country’s workforce

More government investment is needed to foster innovation as businesses face critical skills gaps and ensure the country succeeds in the post-pandemic world

8 February 2021, London – The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world’s largest body of management accountants, is calling on the Government to take ambitious steps and play a crucial role in driving the UK’s economic growth and helping to provide new skills-led employment opportunities for the digital era as the country rebuilds its post-pandemic economy.

Worryingly, CIMA’s 2020 Mind the Skills Gap report published last December revealed that 84% of UK SME employees are not currently undertaking any skills training or professional development. In addition, only 3 in 10 (31%) SME employees said they have undertaken skills training and professional development in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic forcing many companies to reimagine how they do business. 

Concurrently, 65% of UK SME business leaders said that they have identified skills gaps within their organisation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 90% stating that these skills gaps are significant enough to hamper their organisation’s future growth and success. 

Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive – Management Accounting at The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, commented: 

“Based on our own research over the past three years and ongoing collaboration with business and finance leaders, we are getting a consistent picture of the structural weaknesses in our current and future workforce’s skillset. The digital skills divide is widening, and the acute disruption brought on by COVID-19 put this issue into sharp focus. 

“The UK must become a global leader and the Government must accelerate its commitment in encouraging both businesses and employees to reskill and upskill. Our research confirms that over 80% of employers would redeploy the Apprenticeship Levy to plug wider skills gaps for new and existing workers if rules on how it can be used were relaxed.

“Ahead of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week in February and the Chancellor’s Budget Statement in March, CIMA is urging on the UK Government to do more to reskill and upskill the country’s workforce. We believe this is critical to address the UK’s historic productivity woes and put the economy back on a sustainable, sound footing.”

CIMA’s key proposals to the Government include: 

  • Making skills and professional development training mandatory for those unable to work and receiving furlough payment to close the country’s skills gap and improve productivity;
  • Creating a rebuttable right to retrain to empower workers to request further training and professional development;
  • 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.

Read CIMA’s proposals for recovery in full here