New policy group on Skills and Training

Britain has a skills crisis. For too long, successive governments have failed to invest enough in skills and training, assuming business will pick up the slack. Despite many excellent businesses investing extensively in their people this hasn’t been enough. We need a new, liberal and fair approach to skills and training, which provides opportunities to everyone, which is why the Federal Policy Committee has commissioned a new working group to look at this issue.

Progressive policies on skills and training give us the chance to position ourselves as the natural party of business, a position vacated by the Tories and their shambolic approach to Europe and international trade.

We want to develop a new approach to skills and training. In particular, we want to look at how we develop policies on vocational education, further education, adult education and lifelong learning and careers advice. As a party, the Liberal Democrats are often perceived as the party of the university-educated middle class, it’s time to change that through new and innovative policies. We will also need to look at how we reskill our country as new technologies replace old jobs and create new ones.

It has also become apparent following the UK’s departure from the EU and the ever more draconian immigration policy of this government that as a country we had relied on the expertise of immigrants to fill too many roles, they were contributing far more to our country than even we realised. We will need to look at how we plug the post-Brexit skills gap, not because we want fewer people moving here, but because we need to be more self-reliant.

We’d especially encourage applicants from ethnic minority backgrounds, women, the disabled, younger people and the less well off. Too often, their opportunities and potential are held back by approaches that are made by and still cater to a middle-class ‘nuclear family’ and policies are decided without their voices being heard. They are also in danger of being disproportionately impacted by new technologies.

If you’d like to get involved, please apply to join by the 27th of April.

You can apply for the working group here.

* Helen Cross is an elected member of Federal Policy Committe, Chair of Liberal Democrat Women and has stood as the parliamentary candidate for Brentford and Isleworth in the last general election.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Jason Connor 17th Apr '22 - 6:58pm

    This is a positive party initiative. I am glad you are also looking at developing policies on Careers Advice. This is very much a Cinderella service and has been neglected by the current government going back to the days of the coalition. Not enough careers guidance is offered on a face-to-face level to young people and adults now. The Connexions service did some good work in its day and any future service needs to build on its successes but with an emphasis on careers leading to fulfilling jobs for all age groups not just a box ticking exercise run by the DWP or Job Centre Plus. As a council tenant, I very much agree with your last paragraph.

  • Good skills training starts at school. An overburdening curriculum hinders the development of life long and vocational education. School life must be fun so children enjoy learning and easily apply it to what they see in the grown up world. It should be natural for children to ask what their learning is doing to help them develop into worthwhile adults, playing their part in modern society.

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