[2021] C04 Tackling the UK skills gaps and boosting maritime training

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from: ,

Motion 16 and amendments, and motion 17

Congress notes that without action seven million extra workers will have insufficient skills for their jobs by 2030. Congress further notes that adult participation in further education fell by 39 per cent between 2012–13 and 2018–19.

Congress notes that 11.3 million people in the UK lack the basic digital skills to use the internet effectively, while five million lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, creating barriers to these workers accessing jobs.

Congress notes that barriers facing workers who wish to access training are difficulties getting time away from work, cost, digital exclusion and lack of understanding about what skills will be needed.

Congress notes that the government’s apprenticeship levy has been a wasted opportunity that has seen £2bn of unused employers’ levy funds returned to the treasury instead of funding training for young people and upskilling existing workers.

Yet with work changing rapidly, workers urgently need new skills. Congress believes that reskilling initiatives should be focused on upskilling workers to better paid and better quality jobs.

Congress believes some employers have been unwilling to invest in skills, training and retraining, contributing to reported labour shortages.

Congress believes that fair pay for FE staff – including closing the £9,000 pay gap between teachers in schools and FE colleges – is crucial to ensuring that the sector can play its full role in upskilling.

Congress believes that it is essential that workers in the UK have the skills for the jobs of tomorrow.

Congress notes the Seafarer Cadet Review Report launched by the Maritime Skills Commission in June 2021, which recommends that the government must modernise UK maritime training if UK seafarers are to remain competitive in the global shipping industry and overhaul funding for seafarer training.

Over the past 40 years, the number of British officers in the Merchant Navy (MN) has fallen by around two-thirds. Consistent under-recruitment means the total is predicted to fall a further 30 per cent within the next decade.

The report recommends that UK MN officer training should be fully funded by government and officer trainees/cadets be given access to new skills for the future, modern technology such as simulators, and blended learning tools. This will enable the UK to maintain its leadership in maritime expertise and attract global investment.

A survey conducted by Nautilus International as part of its input into the Maritime Skills Commission report found that recently qualified MN officers believe UK merchant navy training was in desperate need of modernising with new skills such as leadership training and that ship owners, colleges and sponsors needed to take a much more active interest in cadets’ training experiences.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i. support union campaigns to publicise training opportunities, and the importance of skills development

ii. call on the government to create an improved integrated adult skills system in the UK to make employers invest in training

iii. call on employers to provide additional support to workers at risk of digital exclusion

iv. call on employers to pre-emptively retrain workers and provide information about the key skills their workforce will require in the future

v. campaign for a right to retrain and reskill for those at risk of unemployment

vi. support industrial action by UCU members campaigning to improve pay and conditions in FE.

vii. Congress therefore calls on the government to commit to supporting UK seafarers’ training by:

viii. providing 100 per cent of the costs of training

viii. modernising course content to ensure it provides the skills to promote the competitiveness of UK seafarers in a global industry

x. supporting efforts to encourage more graduates to consider careers in shipping.

Mover: Community
Seconder: Nautilus International
Supporters: University and College Union, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association