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VIDEO: What is the middle skills gap, and what do we do about it?

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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.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Chris Speedy posted on

    He didn't mention that a big part of the expansion in apprenticeships has been for older workers and not new entrants to the labour market. Interesting stuff but it rather begs the question "If the germanic countries are doing technical education well, why would we look to the States for answers?" What is wrong with investigating the social, cultural and political basis for the success of our North European neighbours and figuring out how we might shift closer to those arrangements? Don't tell me - that risks upsetting the super-wealthy elite who would view such ideas as a left-wing conspiracy!


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