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Wednesday, 27 May

AELP Proposes Post-COVID Employment And Skills Recovery Plan

AELP Proposes Post-COVID Employment And Skills Recovery Plan

The AELP has published a proposal for a post-COVID employment and skills recovery package, calling for a combined cross-departmental and devolved approach.

Britain’s response to the growth in pandemic-related unemployment requires a cross-departmental approach within government, according a new set of proposals published by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).

According to Office for National Statistics labour market data, in March employment held up well due to furloughed staff remaining technically employed. However, hours worked fell sharply in late March, especially in sectors such as hospitality and construction.

ONS Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said: “Through April there were signs of falling employment as real-time tax data show the number of employees on companies’ payrolls fell noticeably, and vacancies were sharply down too, with hospitality again falling steepest.”

“The AELP proposed framework has been submitted to government as a starting point for discussion and we are inviting stakeholders to get involved to move it forward.” 

– Mark Dawe

CEO, AELP

 

Upskilling requirements

 

The AELP, whose 800 provider members train 7 out of 10 apprentices in England and also deliver other employability and skills programmes, argues that the solution to this must start with identifying job opportunities and upskilling requirements as the core driver. 

They don’t recommend a generic skills or work programme with different government departments “doing their own thing”.  A simplistic approach is unlikely to work because the experiences of different sectors of the economy have varied so much over the past three months, they claim. 

AELP’s proposed framework has identified the following priority groups who require support:

 

  • Those people who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) or long term unemployed before the crisis, who will be pushed even further away from job opportunities
  • “Low skilled” recently unemployed individuals as a consequence of the  crisis
  • Higher skilled workers displaced by the crisis primarily due to a shrinking in the economy
  • Young talent (16-24), many of whom are entering the workforce for the first time
  • Economically inactive people going back into the workforce due to economic need

 

AELP CEO Mark Dawe said:

“We don’t think that there is time for new employment and skills programmes to be devised when we are plunging into what could be the worst recession in living memory.  But a sophisticated new approach is needed to maximise the economic impact from existing programmes and get as many unemployed people back into work as quickly as possible.

“This means central government departments such as BEIS, DfE and DWP working together closely with devolved authorities and education and employment providers in a way that avoids a hit and miss approach and which enables targeted support to reach priority sectors and individuals who need support.

"Cooperation between Whitehall departments during previous downturns has a chequered history and we can’t afford to repeat mistakes in these unprecedented circumstances.

“The AELP proposed framework has been submitted to government as a starting point for discussion and we are inviting stakeholders to get involved to move it forward.”  

 

Skills needs

 

Depending on the roles and opportunities that are becoming available across different sectors, there will be different skills needs, requiring a skills matrix.  Those that find themselves in need of a role are likely to have a mix of these skills already, and AELP have categorised these skills as follows:

 

  • Basic skills and needs (literacy, numeracy and digital) and areas such as mental health
  • Employability skills: the skills needed to acquire a job (CV writing, interview skills, assessment skills, presentation skills, confidence etc.)
  • Essential skills: essential to operate effectively in the workplace/working world (team working, presentation etc.)
  • Sector-specific skills and will be determined by level (e.g. scissor handling for hairdressers, coding for digital etc.). For sector-specific skills, a unitised approach to apprenticeship standards could be considered with an initial assessment and final assessment encompassing apprenticeship knowledge skills and behaviours in part or as a whole
  • Entrepreneurial skills: as the economy shifts it is possible that there will be a shift to greater numbers of self-employed individuals in certain sectors as the economic model changes and
  • Transferrable skills that will be of use and benefit in other roles in other industries.

 

The Covid-19 Employment Challenge - Employment, Re-Employment and Upskilling - AELP Framework can be read in full here

Picture: A person working at a desk

Article written by Ella Tansley

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