UK facing ‘looming skills crisis’ as workforce training drops

Credit: Minerva Studio

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned that the UK is facing a “looming skills crisis” after new analysis revealed a sharp drop in workplace training.

The TUC says that with automation and new technology changing the way many work, millions will need the chance to re-skill over the next 20 years.

The ‘Training Trends in Britain’ report shows that workers are, on average, receiving 10% less training a year than in 2011.

For young workers (-16%) and lower qualified workers (-20%) the trend is even worse. Young workers, those most in need, have lost the equivalent of a day’s training a year.

The new report builds on an earlier study which showed that workplace training has fallen significantly over the past 20 years.

The report also reveals that employee training courses are becoming shorter with more than a half lasting (56%) less than a week, compared to around a third (34%) in 1996.

Moreover, the proportion of off-the-job training has plummeted from 73% in 1996 to 53% in 2018.

Union members are more likely to get training, with 37% saying they accessed training in the last 3 months compared to 22% of non-union members.

But with huge cuts to adult education and fewer courses being run for workers, the UK is on a course for a massive skills deficit.

“The world of work is going to change massively over the coming years. If employers don’t increase workplace training, Britain faces a looming skills and productivity crisis,” said TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

“Everyone must be given the training they need to keep up with changes in technology.”