[2021] Motion 16 Tackling the UK skills gaps

Composited motion

Received from:

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.

Yet with work changing rapidly, workers urgently need new skills. Conference 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 it is essential that workers in the UK have the skills for the jobs of tomorrow.

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

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.



Insert new paragraph 6:

“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.”

At end, add new sub-paragraph vi:

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

University and College Union


Insert new paragraph 4:

“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.”

In the final paragraph, sub-paragraph ii., add at end after “UK”:

“, replacing the apprenticeship levy with a skills levy to make employers invest in training”

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association