19 Feb 2024
by APSCo United Kingdom

APSCo Public Policy: Bringing skills to the fore

By Tania Bowers, APSCo Global Public Policy Director


Two recent APSCo and OutSource events brought skills to the fore. At a House of Commons executive dinner led by the skills expert Baroness Sue Garden of Frognall, a most gracious and humorous host, the leaders of our larger staffing businesses discussed how jobs and careers should be weaved throughout the school curriculum, bringing relevance to academic and technical modules.

Baroness Sue Garden.jpg

Plus, they agreed on the need for a reevaluation of the societal value of technical skills such as fibre optic engineers and electricians in our online world. Of course, the much-maligned Apprentice Levy was discussed, with a passionate call for more flexibility on use, spend and access, including to agency workers.

Read my blog for details on how you can learn more about supporting apprenticeships for all ages and T level work placements for 16-18 year olds. 

Similar themes emerged at the Engineering Forum with an engaging and insightful debate led by Becca Gooch, Head of Research at Engineering UK. She shared their recent research on engineering skills including the prediction of 173,000 net new jobs by 2030 in engineering and technology.  Green jobs are growing fast with “green” job titles increasing by 55% and “green” skills increasing by 48% in the last 5 years.   APSCo and OutSource members can contact me for the slides.  However, it’s a fact there is a shortage of candidates, permanent salaries are moderate and better paid contract roles are growing due to candidate demand, client project and budget management. 

There was frustration amongst the group at the lack of a national industrial strategy coordinating education, employers, and immigration – resulting in consequences such as engineering courses being filled with largely international students and the top STEM graduates being lost to Finance and the City on graduation –engineering can not match on salaries so has to have a more persuasive appeal.

Lastly, at a CBI Future of Work and Skills group meeting this month the DfE presented on the proposed British Advanced Standard to replace A levels, with a 10-year lead time.  Trade bodies across goods and services all called for a cross Whitehall review on skills now.  I made the point that bringing sufficient teaching staff through over the implementation period, to deliver the much more challenging teaching hours, will be impossible without making the teaching proposition far more attractive and better paid.  There is an open consultation we are responding to so members should get in touch if they have a view:



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