Commenting on the Spring Statement today (Wednesday 23 March 2022), WorldSkills UK Deputy CEO Ben Blackledge said that developing a world-class skills economy was key to tackling challenges such as climate change and levelling up.

He added that developing skills was a vital part of boosting growth and productivity, and attracting valuable inward investment to create the jobs that will help young people cope with rising living costs:

It is good to see people and skills at the heart of the Government’s plans to rebuild our economy. We know from benchmarking the UK’s skills with other countries that we are not as competitive as we should be.

WorldSkills UK Deputy CEO Ben Blackledge

“Industries are changing rapidly and, as the Chancellor highlighted today, we are already falling behind other countries in developing the skills that we need. We have to build a system that keeps pace, rewards innovation and is ready for the challenges of tomorrow.

“Our research into skills gaps found that 60% of firms expect their reliance on advanced digital skills to increase by 2026, while 41% said advanced digital skills help them innovate, improve productivity and grow their business.

We welcome plans to boost business investment in training so employers and inward investors can access the skills they will need to innovate and grow, and so young people can access the training they need to thrive.

“As the international arm of the UK skills sector, WorldSkills UK is bringing our unique knowledge of world-class standards and international best practice to support the development and promotion of a UK skills system that is truly world-class.

“Our Skills Taskforce for Global Britain is convinced that a responsive skills system is particularly important in attracting inward investment and being internationally competitive. Next month the taskforce will set out how the UK must develop a world-class skills economy needed to drive thriving sectors such as tech, advanced manufacturing and life sciences.”

The Skills Taskforce for Global Britain was established by WorldSkills UK to explore how more parts of the UK can use high-quality skills to attract and retain valuable inward investment. The Taskforce’s report will be presented at the International Skills Summit at City of Glasgow College on Tuesday 26 April.

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