Local people, local growth

by Steve Mulligan on 15 Jan 2016

Recognising the critical importance of the devolution agenda, we decided that the first major policy report of Learning and Work Institute would focus on the key role that local areas can play in joining up employment, learning and skills interventions to unleash local talent, to tackle employment and skills challenges, and to deliver inclusive growth.

With 5 million adults in the UK lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills alongside widening skills gaps there has never been a more important time for learning, employment and inclusion issues to be tackled together. Our latest Policy Solution, Local People: Local Growth argues for a step-change in devolution - empowering local areas to deliver more joined-up learning, employment and skills services for people and employers. 

Local People: Local Growth identifies five areas where we believe Local Areas can have a critical impact in ensuring learning, employment and skills services work better for people, employers and their local economy.

  • Local leadership: we have argued the £1.5bn Adult Education Budget should be devolved, with cities responsible for overseeing learning, skills and employment services to ensure they are integrated and co-ordinated, and tailored to local needs.
  • Full employment: employment boosted by co-commissioning new employment support programmes, enabling local areas to ensure integrated back-to-work support with a particular focus on people with health conditions and disabilities.
  • Life skills: all adults to have achieved key life skills by 2030, through a new Citizens’ Curriculum, doubling efforts to improve functional literacy and numeracy.
  • Apprenticeships: local responsibility for raising apprenticeship numbers and quality, by working with local employers and training providers.
  • Low pay and productivity: boosting demand for Advanced Learner Loans to increase intermediate skills and building a Career Advancement Service for low paid workers. Local areas should share in the extra revenue that boosting progression brings.

The size of the prize for getting it right is huge - our analysis shows that within existing resources, local areas could help an extra 250,000 people into work, £200 million boost to earnings and the economy, and help the Government meet its target of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

We are keen to build on the long track record of NIACE and CESI in supporting local areas to develop effective learning, skills and employment interventions which help people to develop basic skills for the 21st century, improve quality of apprenticeships and help move people into employment, or to progress in the workplace.  

If you are keen to find out more about how Learning and Work Institute can support you local area please contact steve.mulligan@learningandwork.org.uk