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Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June 2007 1 Guidance and HE: Contexts and issues Stephen McNair Director, CROW.

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Presentation on theme: "Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June 2007 1 Guidance and HE: Contexts and issues Stephen McNair Director, CROW."— Presentation transcript:

1 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Guidance and HE: Contexts and issues Stephen McNair Director, CROW

2 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Some aspects of change Continuing economic growth Demography Globalisation Declining social mobility Labour market polarisation Rising service sector

3 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Projected change in age groups Government Actuary’s Department

4 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Research: things we know about HE It pays – income and life benefits – for most (beware of averages!!) It does best for traditional groups – white, male, graduate parents, high status institutions Student demand continues to rise Labour market demand continues to rise

5 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Government policy Personalisation Choice Aspirations –50% HE participation before 30, –45% of population graduates by 2020 Increased “employer” involvement The skills agenda

6 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Skills and work Lifelong perspectives – late starts, deferred exit International/national/local labour markets Large/small firms Sector difference – the role of SSCs? Underemployment/overqualification Task discretion matters a lot People like work but want flexibility and work life balance

7 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June The policy response : Leitch the core argument Skills gaps are serious and growing Processes for responding to changing skills needs are too slow Planning, quotas and targets for skills don’t work – too slow, too remote, diverted by other concerns Give power to customers to buy and make the market work

8 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Leitch’s assessment: the risk of failing to act Slipping further down the international economic league tables Competitiveness and profitability reducing Unemployment rising, jobs lost to other countries Migration and social tensions increasing Tax yields falling and public services cut back Spiralling decline

9 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Leitch’s assessment: the prize for prompt action Improved economic performance: £80bn growth in GDP UK attracting higher inward investment and additional jobs Functional illiteracy and innumeracy largely overcome, with corresponding improvements in health and crime figures Higher skills contributing to a higher standard of living for all

10 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June The Leitch vision? Leitch’s proposal: a “demand led system”, which implies: –Consumers: empower individuals (Learning Accounts and good career advice) empower employers (Sector Skills Councils, Learning brokers, Train to Gain) –Make suppliers respond: channel funding through individuals and employers, not education providers –Provide good information and brokerage – a national adult careers service

11 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June “Engaging employers” Reification of the concept HR and strategic managers Knowledge of specific requirements Some kinds of “employer”: –Filling specific vacancies –Career building –Talent spotting – students, staff –“Corporate social responsibility” –Phasing out/off the premises –Market intelligence

12 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June Leitch: a vision outside time? Over dependence on qualifications – to diagnose problem and to propose remedies Government agendas are not joined up (and will not be) Work and the lifecourse Misunderstanding of human capital –Created by learning (not just courses) –Maintained by use and encouragement –Decays by neglect and obsolescence –Destroyed by bad management

13 Centre for Research into the Older Workforce HECSU June The new Skills Agenda: opportunities for HE and Careers Services Leitch will happen It will be interpreted more narrowly than he intended Implementation will generate perverse incentives HE at its best knows a lot about skills, trends, scenarios, and can help as a partner, not a slave HE should justify its independence by responding intelligently to the ultimate customers, not (necessarily) the intermediaries


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