The UK is a well-established globally as a knowledge economy, with outstanding universities and research institutes and world leading knowledge-intensive industries such as finance, business services, and pharmaceuticals.

However, the UK has not established itself as a world-leading skills economy and this is key for a post-Covid economic recovery, particularly with a focus on sectors of the economy which must be internationally competitive – requiring worldclass skills – to attract investment and succeed.

By setting a new level of ambition to be a world-leading skills economy, we can harness our ability to benchmark the UK’s technical skills internationally, combined with data and insights from EY’s annual inward investment surveys. With WorldSkills UK and EY coming together we can set a new level of ambition and create the case for the UK as a world-leading skills economy.

While there have been skills commissions and growth commissions in the past, no one has tackled the specific and important question of improving the quality of our skills economy, including to world-class levels, to help attract inward investment to help drive growth in key sectors and help meet the UK’s long-term economic global ambitions. This is where the skills taskforce for global Britain comes in.

Areas of taskforce focus

The taskforce will produce a publication of a skills economy roadmap to 2030 and focus on:

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International comparison

How do our skills compare with those competitor countries?

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Attracting investment

What skills do UK CEOs need in order to attract investment? Are all parts of the UK able to attract inward investment?

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Skills required

What are international investors looking for in terms of skills in the UK?

Financial cost

Can we quantify the skills gaps in the UK? What is the opportunity cost for UK plc?

Members of the taskforce

Our members use their experience to help answer economic and policy questions which get to the heart of the Government’s ambitions for a more prosperous economy and society.

John Cridland CBE

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Former CBI Director General John Cridland will Chair the Skills Taskforce for Global Britain. John has a wealth of experience in high-level policy analysis and delivery across the economy, education, business, and international trade and investment. He is currently Pro Chancellor of Brunel University and Chairman of the Home Group.

John is passionate about improving skills outcomes for young people and employers. He is a member of the board at OFSTED, and previously served as Vice Chair of the National Learning and Skills Council, and as a UK Commissioner for Employment and Skills.

John, who was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2006, will help steer the delivery of the Roadmap to 2030, and act as a key spokesperson for the Taskforce to the media, politicians and other senior officials.

 

Josie Cluer

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EY is a founding member of the Skills Taskforce, represented by Josie Cluer, who will provide access to skills policy experience and global insights from EY, including the annual UK Attractiveness Survey. Josie leads EY’s learning business in the UK, working across sectors, helping clients use learning as a driver of organisational transformation. She is a former Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills and regularly writes and speaks on skills and education reform. Josie has been involved in various charitable activities to increase access to training, skills and jobs for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Stephen Burgin

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Steve has extensive experience operating at Board level in a variety of sectors, with knowledge of complex projects in international and regulated markets. In 2008, Steve became UK Country President for Alstom, and was Vice President for GE Power in Europe from 2015 to 2017, having worked in engineering and energy for over 40 years.

Steve was previously Senior Vice-President of Areva, Vice-Chair of Stoke-on-Trent LEP, Vice-President of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and member of the Offshore Wind Industry Council. He currently serves as Pro-Chancellor for Staffordshire University.

Andrew Hodgson OBE

Andrew has over 30 years’ experience in delivering major projects in the North East of England, within both the energy and technology sectors. He was awarded an OBE in 2015 for his work in manufacturing and the North East economy and has extensive experience in strategic-level positions for leading companies such as Airbus and BAE Systems as well as smaller firms like Tyneside-based manufacturer, Soil Machine Dynamics. Andrew served as Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) where he made skills development a leading priority until August 2020.

Dr Ann Limb CBE

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Ann is the independent business Chair of the UK Innovation Corridor one of the country’s leading regions for science and technology stretching from London to Cambridge and has a long track record of senior roles in the further education sector, including Principal roles at Milton Keynes and Cambridge colleges. Ann remains heavily involved in technical education delivery now as incoming Chair of the City & Guilds Group. Up until 2019, she was chair of the country’s top performing Local Enterprise Partnership – the South East Midlands LEP and has continued as an Ambassador for the national LEP network.

In the 2011 Birthday Honours, Ann was awarded the OBE for work in education and in 2015 ‘upgraded’ to CBE for public and political services.

Marie-Thérèse McGivern

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Marie-Therese has extensive experience of both skills development and inward investment. Her current roles include chairing Maritime Belfast and the Employability and Skills Advisory Board for the £10bn Belfast Region City Deal. Marie-Therese also sits on the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Water.   From 2009 to 2020 Marie-Thérèse was Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Metropolitan College.

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE

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Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE is the President of the British Chambers of Commerce. She also chairs the Air Operators Association, is a Non Executive Director at the Department of Education, the Tideway Tunnel, One Cam Limited  and Mind Gym plc. Ruby was the Chief Executive of MITIE Group PLC, the strategic outsourcing company which employed over 65,000 people during her tenure and became the largest Facilities Management business in the UK.

She is one of a small number of women who have held the position of Chief Executive in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 and is the first Asian woman to be appointed in such a role within that group of companies.

Ruby is a member of the House of Lords, having been granted a Life Peerage in 2015 and is a member of the Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee. She was appointed by the UK Government to be the In – Work Progression Commissioner in 2020. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2015, the professions’ most prestigious award.

Neil Rami

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Neil is Chief Executive of the West Midlands Growth Company. Supported by local authorities, universities and regional businesses, the Growth Company was established in 2017 to create jobs and attract inward investment to the region. Under Neil’s leadership, the region secured the highest number of foreign direct investment projects on record, attracting investments from HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Jaguar Land Rover and ASOS. Neil held similar economic development roles in Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne, and he is currently Chairman of the Midlands Trade and Investment Group.

Chris Sutton

Chris is a member of the Welsh Government’s Ministerial Advisory Board for the Economy and is a former Chair of both CBI Wales and Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone. Chris is a Governor of the University of South Wales and Chair of USW subsidiary Merthyr Tydfil FE College. A chartered surveyor, Chris has advised Welsh Government on the utilisation off public sector assets, the devolution of business rates and planning reform. 

Linda Urquhart OBE

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Linda is an experienced business leader and is currently a Non-executive Director at both Coutts and Edinburgh Airport, and a Trustee of Marie Curie. Linda has a wealth of experience at the highest levels of business, including a key perspective on skills and inward investment in Scotland. She was  the first female Managing Partner of major Scottish law firm, Morton Fraser, a board member of Scottish Enterprise, and served as Chair of both CBI Scotland and Re:markable (formerly Investors in People Scotland) and Co-Chair of the Fair Work Convention, an independent advisory body to Scottish Ministers.  She was awarded an OBE for services to business in 2012.

Dr Adam Marshall

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Adam is currently a Senior Adviser to the Chartered Management Institute and to business advisory firm Flint Global, and also serves as a non-executive director with the UK Trade Remedies Authority. He served as Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) from March 2016 to March 2021, where he focused on the global trade agenda and campaigned for the interests of over 75,000 businesses through the Brexit process and Covid-19 pandemic. 

Prior to joining BCC in 2009, Adam helped to start up the Centre for Cities, and has a long track record of work on local and regional economic development, including a PhD from the University of Cambridge.  

Anthony Impey MBE

Anthony Impey MBE is the Chief Executive of Be the Business: the not-for-profit organisation, that is backed by government and big businesses to boost the productivity of small businesses. 

As a serial entrepreneur and experienced business leader, Anthony has a track-record in starting, building, and operating businesses and not-for-profit organisations in the tech and education sectors.   

He started his first business at school and went on to build several businesses including Touchbase Network and Technology House.  As founder and chief executive of Optimity, he built one of the UK’s leading providers of wireless internet services and a multi award-winning apprenticeship programme.   

He also founded TechCity Stars and Tech Up Nation; not-for-profit organisations that helped disadvantaged young Londoners kickstart their careers in the tech sector.   

He chairs the City & Guilds Industry Skills Board and is an advisory board member of the Institute of Coding. 

He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours for Services to Apprenticeships and Small Business.  

Dame Julie Mellor

Julie is Chair of the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards, which represents and supports eighteen employer led sector skills organisatons across the UK, covering over 170,000 employers. 

Julie is also Chair of Demos, a leading cross-party think tank, and the Young Foundation, which puts people at the heart of social change. Her background includes a career at Shell, TSB, British Gas, and PwC, and she’s served as a board member at Nesta and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 

With global competition for inward investment getting fiercer every year, the UK must be able to add world-class skills to its international calling card. We have much work to do.

John Cridland, Taskforce Chair

It’s positive to see businesses, Government and the third sector coming together to focus on this important issue. We are delighted to be a founding member of the Taskforce for Global Britain, through which we hope to help chart a course to create a world-leading skills economy by 2030.

Josie Cluer, EY’s Lead Partner for Learning and Skills in the UK

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