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Skilled Workers: Vacancies

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2253, tabled on 5 March 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of job vacancies which remain unfilled because of skill shortages among potential applicants; and what steps they are taking to introduce training courses and apprenticeships to fill that gap.

Answered on

24 March 2020

The Employer Skills Survey 2017 identified 1,007,000 vacancies, of which 226,000 were skill-shortage vacancies (SSVs) – representing 22% of all vacancies. This percentage has remained broadly stable over several waves of the survey – 23% in 2015. Employers were most likely to report SSVs for Skilled Trades (42% of all Skilled Trades vacancies were SSVs), Machine Operatives (31% of all these vacancies were SSVs) and Professionals (30% of all these vacancies were SSVs). These proportions are also in line with 2015 percentages. We are awaiting results of the 2019 survey.

We have put in place a range of measures to tackle skills gaps. We are making apprenticeships longer, better, with more off-the-job training and proper assessment at the end, with new standards across all levels being designed and driven by the industry so they can equip people with the skills they need. We will be investing up to £500 million a year in T levels, a high quality technical alternative to A levels, which will be more rigorous than current vocational courses and involve employers in their development to ensure the qualifications have real labour market value.

We also investing up to £290 million of capital funding to establish 20 new Institutes of Technology, which will be the pinnacle of technical training offering higher technical education and training in key sectors such as digital, construction, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

We have also invested £100 million into establishing a National Retaining Scheme, which will help prepare adults for future changes to the economy, including those brought about by automation, and help them retrain into better jobs. On top of this we are investing an extra £3 billion, over the course of this Parliament, for a new National Skills Fund to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future. The fund will help ensure that businesses can find and hire the workers they need and help people fulfil their potential.