The Government has no idea what skills the UK economy needs, MPs say

The Government does not know what skills British businesses need or how Brexit will affect the flow of suitably trained migrants, MPs have warned. The Telegraph reports

Schemes to boost teacher numbers are also poorly monitored, efforts to get more women into science are failing and schools are not effectively showing pupils that they can thrive in technology and engineering jobs.

But MPs fear the Departments for Education and for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy do not understand what needs to be done to ensure the UK has the workers it needs.

As industries change rapidly “skills development often lags behind”, the Public Accounts Committee warned.

“BEIS and DfE do not currently have sufficient understanding of what specific skills businesses really need or how Brexit will affect the already difficult task of ensuring the supply of STEM skills in the workforce,” the MPs said.

The committee, chaired by Meg Hillier, said the departments should study a report from the Migration Advisory Committee due in September, and “within six months, set out the further steps they will take to ensure that STEM skills shortages are addressed”. 

Bursaries and other incentives are given to teacher trainees to address shortages in STEM and other subjects – but it is not known if they are staying in the job afterwards.

At the same time school and college career advice is failing to challenge perceptions that STEM subjects are “too challenging”, which MPs said must be changed.

“As part of its plans to improve the quality of careers advice, DfE should work with Ofsted to consider rating the quality of advice provided in schools,” the report said.

Read more The Government has no idea what skills the UK economy needs, MPs say

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