Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the Future-Ready Skills Commission, says:
“Skilled people are the lifeblood of the economy. I have seen first-hand the critical importance of skills to the fortunes of West Yorkshire and beyond, in driving forward inclusion and social mobility as well as improving productivity, creating opportunities and for ensuring a buoyant economy we can all benefit from.
“It should be a no-brainer: our economy needs more digital skills, and people with digital skills have amazing opportunities for a fulfilling, prosperous career. However, perversely, we like many regions are grappling with a digital skills gap – a gap that our current centralised skills system isn’t allowing us to fill quickly enough.
“There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is the fact that the current system isn’t set up to meet the needs of businesses and the local economy.
With the future of Britain and its relationship with the European Union still uncertain, it’s even more vital that we have a skills system that meets local labour market need.
“This new Future-Ready Skills Commission for a Devolved UK aims to change our current imperfect system, by developing a workable blueprint that can be adapted at a local level and respond to the many future demands that will be placed up on it.
“I believe that if we can get the design and operation of our skills system right it can serve as the catalyst for the transformation of skills nationally and ultimately drive strong productivity and growth to our economy. At the same time improved access to relevant skills will provide a ladder of opportunity for everyone, including those who are currently disadvantaged.”