Giving a voice to local skills issues to help build tomorrow’s workforce

Fact: We all need to learn new skills.

The skills landscape across our cities is changing. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformations and a move to hybrid working. That means businesses are having to reassess the skills they need and how they source them. And local education providers are having to rethink the courses they provide and how they deliver them.

So, what skills do we need in our cities? How do we provide them? What’s the role of businesses, local education providers and government in training and reskilling? And how will we know we’ve got it right?

We posed those questions to local leaders and key influencers from four of our metropolitan cities – Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and London. We’ve taken their voices and distilled their views to create the first of our Voices of Place reports: The Skills City. The report discusses the skills we need to focus on and what needs to change to deliver them. It also identifies six steps we can take to build tomorrow’s workforce.

The skills outlook: What do we need?

What skills do we need for the workforce of the future? The job roles and skills are evolving but in which direction are we headed?

Skills gaps

Providing for the unpredictable

Skills gaps

Job roles are changing – and so are the skills needed to do them. But in a fast-changing world, it can seem impossible to know which skills to invest in at a granular level. Although looking at future trends is important, investing in an agile workforce with highly transferrable skills and abilities is key.

Digital skills

The bare necessity

Digital skills

Digital skills are vital. But it’s not just specialist tech capabilities that are in critical demand. Businesses need all staff to know how to get the most from their workplace tools.

Meta-skills

Much needed, little recognised

Meta-skills

Meta-skills are critical to workforce agility. But they aren’t built into formal qualifications or job specifications. As a result, employees don’t typically capture them when recruiting and reskilling.

Skills delivery: How do we provide them?

Trying to tackle these issues, will cause a shift in mindset. We’ll need to reconsider job roles and abilities, changing our understanding of why people come to work to better improve recruitment and retention.

New mindset

Time for a new mindset

New mindset

New ways of working mean we’ll need to think differently about all aspects of skills – from how we attract talent to how we upskill our people.

Collaboration

Achieving more together

Collaboration

Collaboration needs to go to the next level – but we can’t wait for government to lead. We need to work together now to define the role of business, education, government and communities in delivering the skills we need.

Agility

Bite-sized top-ups

Agility

Bite-sized learning offers an agile way to top up employees’ skills as roles change. But it will need greater recognition of employees’ existing skills to work effectively.

Measuring success: How will we know we’ve delivered?

Knowing the endgame is often the best place to start. Yet ‘what does good look like?’ is a difficult question to answer.

Productivity and other hard measures might be an obvious place to start, but it comes with risks.

Skills for all

The diversity and inclusion imperative

Skills for all

Business leaders from every location agree that diversity and inclusion must be a priority. Rethinking skills is a chance to boost equality of access to learning and opportunity.

Sense of place

Driving a positive perception of place

Sense of place

Success metrics need to be more than a race to the top. Productivity is important, but cities should also consider what measures will drive a positive perception of the local economy.

Tomorrow’s talent

Supporting younger workers

Tomorrow’s talent

Embracing young talent, and supporting them as they navigate a hybrid world, will be critical. Employers need to build their brands among young people and promote the development opportunities offered in their places.

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About the series

What happens in our regional economies affects the prosperity of the UK as a whole. That’s why it’s important that we make sure the voices of our places are heard. Through our Voices of Place series we’re enabling that to happen. We’ll be connecting key influencers and leaders from across the UK’s main metropolitan areas. Together, we’ll be tackling some of the biggest issues facing our places – from digital transformation to climate change. And we’ll be co-creating action plans to set us on the path to growth.

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