This green paper responds to the problem of skills gaps. It explores and invites revisions to post 18 education aimed at creating more integrated and flexible skills provision, in ways that meet demands expressed within the labour market both in the short and longer term.
The problem of skills gaps has been expressed as a barrier to regional economic growth. It also emerges in the cultural expectations that employers attach to graduates, as part of a more generalised concern that further and higher education is failing to meet the expectations of employers and, by extension, the needs of graduates and the economy. Such concerns are made visible within policy-based discussion of the economy, and the changing status and conditions of post 18 education within that economy.
The problem is both long-standing and topical; over the 10-month course of the project that informs this green paper the UK industrial strategy has been authored and made public, and the educational concerns expressed here have found their focus in the government’s Review of Post 18 Education and Funding. The call for evidence (21 March 2018) and consultation period (to 2 May 2018) for that education review overlaps with the timing of this paper; the problem of re-imagining skills, and reconciling labour market needs, within a more integrated education post-18 system is an idea whose time has come.