Adult Skills and Social mobility
The Social Mobility Commission was set up to monitor progress towards improving social mobility in the UK, and promotes social mobility in England.
They recently released a report looking at the role adult skills can play in achieving this goal. They found that ‘Low pay is mainly a low skill problem but the UK currently lags behind other countries in giving adults a second chance to get on’ and that this was due to the UK spending relatively little on Adult Skills.
They also found some interesting insights into the culture of adult reskilling in the UK, with graduates being over 3 times more likely to participate in training than those with no qualifications. Previous research also showed half of adults from the lowest socio-economic groups having received no training since leaving school.
Low levels of investment aren’t just restricted to prior attainment; almost twice as many people in managerial, professional and associate professional occupations access training (30%) compared to those in intermediate (16%) or routine and manual occupations (18%). This is sustained across generations, with adults whose parents worked in professional or managerial occupations more likely to participate in training, no matter what their own occupation is, than those whose parents worked in lower-skilled occupations.
It is proposed that this is due to children of high-skilled parents being more likely to be high-qualified and in high-skilled jobs themselves, both of which increase access to training.
This disparity is also reflected in ethnic and gender backgrounds, with more women than men undertaking training (26% versus 21%), more people from Black and Black British ethnic backgrounds than from white backgrounds (32% to 23%), and more younger than older people (25% of 25-29 year olds compared to 17% of 60-64 year olds).
So what are the causes of these discrepancies? The Commission highlight that ‘since 2010, the proportion of training funded by government decreased and employer funding stayed flat, leaving individuals to fund more of their own training [with] Government only funding 7% of all investment in adult skills and in 2016-17 [the] UK spend on vocational training per employee was half the EU average’.
The Commission has set out a suggested action plan, asking employers to address disparities in their training investment, asking government to increase the availability, accessibility and quality of training for adults who need it most and improve the quality of information available on adult skills, training and careers. These are welcome suggestions, but what is clear is that to truly address social mobility and the future productivity challenges of our economy, all of us in the Adult Further Education sector are going to have to play our part.
Latest News from
Addressing skills gaps with NCFE24/04/2019 16:15:00
It’s no secret that we live in politically uncertain times but there is one constant in education, and that is change.
Let’s get to work on a careers strategy to support learners24/04/2019 14:15:00
Equipping young people with the skills and knowledge they need to be ready for the workplace is a challenge and schools need to be sure that they are getting their part right.
Suffolk New College learners prepare for entry to public services16/04/2019 11:15:00
Learners on the NCFE Level 2 and 3 Diploma Entry to the Uniformed Services at Suffolk New College are gaining skills for a wide range of occupational roles in Public Services.
Post-16 Education and Apprenticeship Levy Funding – Next steps for English Devolution05/04/2019 15:15:15
NCFE and the Campaign for Learning are proud to launch a new paper, ‘Post-16 Education and Levy Funding: next steps for English devolution’ - a volume of expert pieces that consider the future of the post-16 education and training budget from a devolution perspective.
Tips for teachers – autism in the classroom02/04/2019 11:15:00
Many learners will require support in the classroom for a variety of different reasons.
NCFE helps meet the creative needs of the future01/04/2019 16:10:00
One of the North East’s leading creatives has backed NCFE’s Technical Award in Art and Design.
Technology-enhanced learning and digital literacy22/03/2019 08:05:00
Albert Einstein feared the day that technology would surpass our human interaction. He stated the world would have a generation of idiots... is this now the case? In a world where digital fluency and digital literacy are sought after skills to improve communication within business, was Einstein right?
Getting schools ready for RSHE21/03/2019 09:15:00
The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that they will be making only minor amends to the previously released draft regulations for Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).