Two areas of the labour market facing particular difficulties are ‘middle skills’ jobs – jobs requiring vocational qualifications or technical knowledge – and high skilled jobs occupied by graduates. While middle skills roles are experiencing difficulties in recruiting qualified workers, high skilled jobs are faced with a growing supply of graduates which may soon outstrip demand.
The video below shows Professor David Finegold discussing the middle skills gap and potential solutions, and is one of two videos filmed following a roundtable event hosted by UKCES. Professor Finegold is currently Chief Academic Officer of American Honors and is a leading expert on skill development systems and their application to economic performance in the global marketplace, with expertise from a US and international perspective.
These videos mark 25 years since Professor Finegold originally published work on ‘high skill ecosystems’ – a period of time during which the structure of the labour market has changed significantly.
Tackling the middle skills gap
‘Middle skills’ jobs – jobs such as technicians, advanced manufacturing roles and healthcare workers which require vocational education and training – are experiencing increasing difficulties in recruitment. While higher education has seen great expansion over the past two decades, vocational routes are limited in comparison to other countries. Professor Finegold explains this problem and draws on US examples to suggest some possible solutions, such as increasing higher level apprenticeships, introducing work experience to more university courses, and working on a local and regional level to create ‘high skill ecosystems’, where employers and education providers work together to create the skills base they need.