Institute for Employment Studies response to new Skills Commission report

Press Releases

5 Apr 2017

Annette Cox, director of employment policy research at the Institute for Employment Studies and a contributor to the Skills Commission's evidence sessions, comments on the new report from the Skills Commission, Spotlight on…Lifelong Learning for an Ageing Workforce:

‘This report provides some welcome ideas to challenge some of the negative myths about older workers that employers can hold, which IES uncovered in its reviews for NICE in 2015.

‘It’s particularly heartening to see the emphasis on providing training around age discrimination and undertaking effective career reviews across teams without singling out older workers. We should not underestimate the amount of support that line managers may need in this area. Discussing age-related change to capabilities and needs in the workplace can feel like one of the last great taboos for many people.

‘In the context of potential reductions to labour supply from sources such as immigrant workers over the next few years, employers need to be thinking much more seriously about workforce planning, and working out how to make best use of a talent pool with high levels of experience. Some employers are already ahead of the game and have shown lots of creative thinking around how to accommodate individual needs of older workers, as IES case studies for the CIPD last year have demonstrated. Others have not yet confronted some of the challenges and opportunities in this field.

‘Perhaps the biggest challenge is funding for learning. Older people on lower incomes may need to retrain for a longer working life but may not want or need formal qualifications that do not match their style of learning or interests. They may struggle to self-fund. We need to understand the impact that wider changes to the funding landscape in apprenticeship provision and loan-based payments for learners in FE will have on this segment of the population. 

‘Digital personal learning accounts proposed by the Learning and Work Institute are an interesting holistic option that could be useful for older people seeking to retrain or update their skills. In addition, the new incentives and champions proposed by the Skills Commission, both in national government departments and at regional and local levels in LEPs and learning providers, deserve serious consideration as mechanisms to help raise levels of co-ordination, profile and action to help create and maintain labour market prospects for older workers.’

ENDS

The report is available from: http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/sc/research/spotlight-onlifelong-learnin...

About the Institute for Employment Studies

The Institute for Employment Studies is an independent, apolitical, international centre of research and consultancy in public employment policy and organisational human resource management. It works closely with employers in the manufacturing, service and public sectors, government departments, agencies, and professional and employee bodies. For over 40 years the Institute has been a focus of knowledge and practical experience in employment and training policy, the operation of labour markets, and human resource planning and development. IES is a not-for-profit organisation whose expertise is available to all organisations through research, consultancy, publications and the internet. 

http://www.employment-studies.co.uk

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About Annette Cox BA, MSc, PhD, MCIPD, FRSA

Annette Cox has 20 years of research experience on HR and employment topics. She has a broad portfolio of research interests covering skills-policy design and evaluation; workforce ageing; organisational performance; employee involvement, health and wellbeing; and reward management.

http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/staff/annette-cox

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The Institute for Employment Studies is an independent, apolitical, international centre of research and consultancy in public employment policy and organisational human resource management. It works closely with employers in the manufacturing, service and public sectors, government departments, agencies, and professional and employee bodies. For over 40 years the Institute has been a focus of knowledge and practical experience in employment and training policy, the operation of labour markets, and human resource planning and development. IES is a not-for-profit organisation whose expertise is available to all organisations through research, consultancy, publications and the internet.