Commenting on skills investment and Net Zero, Zlatina Loudjeva, PwC Government Net-Zero Leader, said:
‘This budget marks an inflection point in the UK’s journey to a greener future and economy. The Chancellor has announced significant interventions. For these to work people need to be in tax-paying jobs and businesses need to grow. This means matching skills with the new jobs and opportunities coming from the government investments in areas like green jobs. This is clearly recognised with the focus on T-levels and reskilling support for younger people as well as adults. If done well, at scale and speed, the skills revolution could be the UK vaccine equivalent for jobs.
“The combination of investment in the transition to a green economy and a skills revolution is much-needed. The T-levels align the UK with what is happening elsewhere in leading economies. The support for lifelong learning and reskilling is another such major step. The combination of COVID, automation and green transition has, in many cases, ended the ‘one career for life option’.
“The investment aims to create around half a million new jobs in the next ten years but without the right skills in the labour force, jobs are just vacancies. Our research shows that many people, including a disproportionate number of women, feel they lack the skills needed to undertake green jobs. Businesses cannot grow without a skilled labour force. The injection of support for skills and reskilling, including aligning T-levels with the green agenda is essential. The T-levels themselves are a part of the solution, scaling them up and aligning them to the direction of the green economy transition is critical to success.
“As the economy is disrupted by automation, COVID and the green transition people, particularly those who are young, need to be well equipped for the future of work. As leaders around the world start focusing on skills as a major economic advantage, the UK investment is timely and essential. Without investment in skills, economic growth and Net Zero progress will not be possible.”
Caitroina McCusker, Education Leader at PwC, added:
“The skills revolution and investment strikes an important balance between investing in younger people and adults. The catch-up agenda is going to be critical for younger people who deserve a platform that will set them up for success in the future. Similarly, the funding for skills boot camps shows a step in the right direction for levelling inequalities and giving people the chance to regain control of their future.
“The £1.6bn cash investment to provide additional classroom hours for up to 100,000 young people taking T-levels is a huge step in the right direction. But with only 2,000 students currently taking T-Levels, it is vital that we move at a faster pace and that business, industry and educators come together to close the considerable attainment gap between disadvantaged students and their peers; something that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“The increase to per pupil funding by £1,500 is a crucial step to address the challenges for a generation that has been most impacted by COVID. The importance of children's mental health and the potential impact of the pandemic on younger generations is a growing priority. It is vital that this funding goes not only to the catch up that is required in the classroom, but also in support of the broader, more emotive challenges that need addressing such as mental health, digital poverty and the growing attainment gap.”
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