Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) gave evidence to the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee today, informing MPs that Government must undertake a “training revolution”. 

In order to solve the issues linked to supply chain delays, the REC has argued that a “revolution” is needed when it comes to offering training for work.

One vital component to this strategy is broadening the apprenticeship levy, allowing funds to be used on other accredited training at levels which will help young people get into work.

Mr. Carberry further suggested that this would be more useful than these funds being spent on graduates already in work.

In this arena, he also advised that MPs should engage with local leadership and training providers, who understand what skills and specialisms are needed in a particular area, and can create local skills plans which are able to harness national qualification standards and funding frameworks.

The adult skills budget could also be bolstered, he added.

Immigration was also offered as a key part of the solution when it comes to solving the current shortage and supply chain problems.

The Chief Executive of the REC explained that “immigration policy has been stuck in a Brexit-time warp” and, instead, there must be an immigration system which works for the economy and businesses alike.

In a letter penned to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, REC also urged for increased business investment into areas such as digital technology, skills, management practices and more effective automation.

This would help increasing salaries to rise hand-in-hand with improving productivity in the UK.

Other strategies offered as part of the training revolution included:

  • The Government continuing to fund programs such as the Kickstart and Restart Scheme but improving the administration so people can get into jobs more quickly.
  • Improving the treatment of the flexible labour market.
  • Protecting the funding for enforcement bodies doing good work in support of fair treatment in vital industries – like the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate.
  • Reviewing the impact of this year’s IR35 changes, allowing corrections to be made where necessary.
  • Prioritising diversity and inclusion – e.g. making progress on rules around ethnic minority pay gap reporting to co-working with the REC on improving the diversity of central Government hiring.

Overall, the REC emphasised the necessity of investing in the workforce, both in the long-term and short-term, if a full recovery following the pandemic is to happen.