Consultation: Skills for All Strategy

Overview – Skills for All Strategy consultation

Consultation closes: Tuesday 23 April 2024
Consultation opened: Thursday 25 January 2024

Education is not limited to a specific age or phase of life. It’s important that individuals continue to learn throughout their lives so they can continuously acquire new knowledge and skills. Unfortunately, not everyone can access education equally due to factors including their socio-economic status, their geographical location, or gender-related challenges.

Our ambition is to ensure that everyone can access quality education and learning opportunities. Education is the key to opening doors and giving everyone a chance to climb higher, no matter where they start from.

Learning in early life forms the cornerstone of a child's development and lays the foundation for future growth. The early years are a critical period of rapid cognitive, emotional, and social development, with children soaking up information from their surroundings.

Once a child progresses into school, they embark on a new phase of their educational journey. Children not only expand their academic knowledge but also develop crucial social and behavioural skills, learn to interact with peers and become more independent in a structured setting. Teachers play a pivotal role here, providing support and encouragement to help children progress academically and personally, and their time at school helps prepare them for higher education or to enter the workforce.

And as someone continues their journey and moves into either higher or further education, or into the workforce, it’s important that they have access to quality learning opportunities to help enhance their skills and help them adapt to new technologies, industries, and societal changes.

In 2023, we started to develop the Skills for All Strategy for Central Bedfordshire, taking into account the evolving job market and educational opportunities, with the aim of promoting economic growth that includes everyone.

When developing the draft Skills for All strategy we have involved employers, schools, colleges, community groups, children, parent representatives (and other representative bodies), as well as members of the council and senior local and regional officials. We also carried out detailed analysis of topics including our population, employment levels, education and the labour market, which is available in detail in the Skills for All Strategy.

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the proposed strategy.

The vision

Our vision is to create the places, pathways and practices which deliver the best education and skills outcomes for residents to allow them to experience economic, social and personal success and access the jobs which will drive Central Bedfordshire’s future prosperity.

Background

Our analysis has showed us that there are two future challenges facing Central Bedfordshire.

An ageing population is likely to lead to a decline in future working population. 

30 years ago in the UK, there were 4 working-age people aged 20-64 for every person aged 65 or over. By 2053 this figure will have halved.

We are facing a change in the way we work. 

Changes in technology can alter the value of skills which people have and change how quickly, efficiently, or competitively people can undertake tasks. Initial estimates suggest that around 19% of jobs in Central Bedfordshire are at a low risk of automation, 74% at a medium risk and under 10% at a high risk. 

The Skills for All Strategy has been designed to plan for the future and address these challenges. 

Learning is a lifelong pursuit, but not everyone has the same access to it. We are proposing steps which will support children right from their early years; aiming to ensure everyone is supported to succeed in their education, and ensure young people leave school with the skills they need to move into the workforce, or higher or further education. 

It also outlines how we’ll support people already in the workforce, helping them gain skills and experience so they can progress into sectors in Central Bedfordshire that have opportunities for growth. 

Fairness, inclusion and equality

Our strategy seeks to embed fairness, inclusion and equality, and recognises the importance of people being able to progress within society regardless of their identity, orientation and culture. The key challenges identified around fairness, inclusion and equality are:

  • ensuring that children and young people, as well as older learners, can access learning opportunities
  • creating a system which supports those with SEND right through into employment 
  • the need to reflect on longer working lives, including developing the advice and guidance to help older workers, employers and families understand the need to maintain skills and prepare for longer working lives
  • including clarity about how bringing together effective partnerships and aligning efforts can contribute to tackling inequalities