The City & Guilds Group’s most recent research Recovery and resilience: Reskilling our way back into work surveyed 2,000 working and non-working adults in the UK and found that people from lower socio-economic groups were less likely to believe that they have the support needed to get a new job in several critical areas:
- Using support from my personal contacts: 24% C2DE vs 35% ABC1
- Using support from previous employer: 18% C2DE vs 28% ABC1
- Using support from a recruitment consultant: 18% C2DE vs 29% ABC1
- In addition, 14% of respondents from lower socio-economic groups stated they just don’t know what to do to enable them to get a new job.
Our report found that affordability was a key blocker in preventing people from undertaking vital training and skills development to get back into employment. 33% of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds stated that they could not afford training and they are also less likely to know how to access funding to pay for a course (26%). These figures rise to 59% and 43% respectively amongst people who are already unemployed.
Our research also found that people urgently need financial support, job specific training and digital skills if they are to remain employed – or find routes into employment – as we emerge from the crisis. It is critical that we have an FE system in place that can support (re)training for all of these displaced people, both young and old, and support them into meaningful work.
Finally, we note that interventions are needed to bring the country back from the cliff edge of increasing unemployment and an inadequately skilled workforce to a position of sustainable economic and social prosperity.
Based on our findings, we make the following recommendations:
- We call on the Government to take immediate action and urgently redirect existing funding for skills development, as well as use funding levers at their disposal to save us from losing a whole generation of workers.
- Employers and education providers need to work together to drive forward digital transformation through digital skills investment and online learning tools, with the right investment from Government to allow this to happen.
- The creation of ‘Lifelong Learning & Employment Hubs’ to create a skills network that can match employer demand with the skills of those looking to get back into work.