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TUC warns of “looming skills crisis”

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned that the UK is facing a looming skills crisis after new analysis revealed a sharp drop in workplace training.

The TUC says that with automation and new technology changing the way many work, millions will need the chance to re-skill over the next 20 years.

The TUC study shows that workers are, on average, receiving 10 per cent less training a year than in 2011.

For young workers (-16 per cent) and lower qualified workers (-20 per cent) the trend is even worse. Young workers, those most in need, have lost the equivalent of a day’s training a year.

The new report builds on an earlier study which showed that workplace training has fallen significantly over the past 20 years.

The Training Trends in Britain report also reveals that:

  • Employee training courses are becoming shorter with more than a half lasting (56 per cent) less than a week, compared to around a third (34 per cent) in 1996
  • The proportion of off-the-job training has plummeted from 73 per cent in 1996 to 53 per cent in 2018
  • Union members are more likely to get training, with 37 per cent saying they accessed training in the last three months compared to 22 per cent of non-union members

But with huge cuts to adult education and fewer courses being run for workers, the UK is on a course for a massive skills deficit.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The world of work is going to change massively over the coming years. If employers don’t increase workplace training, Britain faces a looming skills and productivity crisis.

“Everyone must be given the training they need to keep up with changes in technology.”

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