The battle for UK productivity will be won or lost in the workplace, and the skills agenda is central to this.
We often talk about skills as a kind of magic ingredient to productivity. But what do we mean by the word ‘skills’ and what does it mean when there is a mismatch between skills supply and demand?
Growth and related skills demand in Greater Manchester has been driven in recent years by the rapid expansion of many leading industry sectors including business, professional and finance, creative, digital and tech, life sciences and healthcare but the regional workforce comprises a high volume of low skills and a low volume of high skills which is thwarting sustainable growth.
Our regional businesses need to redesign roles where possible, and train managers to use and develop the skills of others.
Government and local authorities also need to provide small businesses with much more locally provided support on developing people management capability to boost both job quality and firm performance.
Aligning skills formation with fundamental economic challenges is critical to the work of HR practitioners as well as regional and local policy-makers.
What about apprenticeships?
Ian Brinkley, the acting chief economist for the CIPD, commented following the October budget in 2018 that:
“for many employers, the apprenticeship levy is too rigid to work in practice.”
The Government halved the apprenticeship levy contribution for smaller businesses, but the move is unlikely to boost the number of apprenticeships offered by small firms significantly. Ian highlighted the need for
“a more flexible training levy helping organisations fulfil many training and development needs rather than shoe-horning funds and efforts into the apprenticeships model alone.”
More Red Tape for Employers
Extending the IR 35 tax reforms from the public sector to the private sector will only add more red tape and in doing so runs contrary to the government’s intention to boost enterprise in the UK. HMRC will, however, provide good quality advice and guidance for employers in the run-up to the tax reform (which will be phased in from April 2020).
Surveying HR and payroll practitioners the CIPD found that nine out of ten feel they would need significant support to determine employment status the IR 35 changes are to be introduced correctly.”
Join us on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 from 18:00 to 20:00 at MMU Business School for an informative event entitled Solving the Productivity Puzzle (North West Regional Skills Agenda).
This joint event with Steven Overell, Principal for Work and Skills at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority will provide you with an overview of regional skills supply and demand patterns and you will learn more about how skills can make a difference to the prosperity of people and organisations in Manchester and its region.
Read the press release here https://www.cipd.co.uk/about/media/press/291018-budget-2018