COMMONS

Tackling the UK productivity problem: research published

05 November 2015

Ahead of their joint work on the issue of education, skills and productivity, the Education Committee and Business, Innovation and Skills Committee have published research on skills and productivity in the UK, USA, France and Germany.

The Committees jointly commissioned research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), which reviewed the literature on the main factors by which education and skills affect economic performance. The research compares the role played by education and training institutions, including schools, and the vocational systems in the UK, USA, France and Germany.

The research highlights a number of areas relating to education and skills systems, such as technical and vocational qualifications, the quality of apprenticeships, and the skills shortage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects.

Chair's comments

Business Innovation and Skills Committee

Iain Wright MP, Chair of the Business Innovation and Skills Committee, said:

"Getting to grips with the UK’s productivity puzzle is crucial to our economic competitiveness and to improving workers’ living standards. Education and skills policy has an important role to play in boosting productivity and living standards. It is vital that there is closer alignment between the requirements of business and the skills and capabilities our education system provides to young people.

Far too often there is little if any co-ordination. This is made worse by the silo-based approach in Government, which doesn’t have the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills talking to the Department for Education. We on the Select Committees want to show Government how working across policy areas and across parties is possible. Working jointly on skills and productivity gives the Committees a real opportunity to ensure young people have the skills they need to achieve fulfilling careers and boost the country’s productivity."

Education Committee

Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee said:

"Improving the interface between schools and businesses should be an integral part of the UK’s efforts to tackle the productivity problem. Businesses need to ramp up their efforts to engage with schools while our education system needs to get better at equipping pupils with the right skills to enter the workplace and drive these businesses forward.

Our joint-working with the BIS Committee will bring a stronger focus to scrutinising Government efforts on these issues and better place us to make recommendations across the education and skills sectors."

Further details of the future programme of the Education and BIS Committee’s joint work on education, skills and productivity is expected to be published later in November 2015.

Further information 

Image: iStockphoto

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