Some Comments on Skills for Growth
In producing their latest white paper, Skills for Growth (2009), the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) (supplemented by a team drafted in from the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit) have aimed to do two things. The first is to provide an update of the original skills strategy (21st Century Skills – Realising Our Potential, DfES 2003), and to recontextualise policy within the new economic circumstances that we face. The original skills strategy was born in a time of boom, but now has to cope with a period of bust. The second is to provide a public response to a number of UK Commission on Employment and Skills (UKCES) documents and items of advice to ministers, in particular Ambition 2020: World Class Skills and Jobs in the UK (2009a) and Towards Ambition 2020: Skills, Jobs and Growth (2009b). This Issues Paper offers some initial thoughts on the white paper. There is not space to attempt to review every aspect of the document or to assess every policy recommendation. The aim is to highlight some of the most important points.