9:30 - 17:00
When it comes to employment and skills, there are many reasons to be cheerful. The employment rate stands at a record high, and unemployment is at it’s lowest in nearly 50 years.
Yet we face profound challenges too. While employment has risen, far too many people remain stuck in low pay, unable to make ends meet. While unemployment has fallen, there remains a stubbornly persistent disability employment gap, with millions locked out of the labour market. While changes in the world of work mean lifelong learning is more important than ever, 9 million adults lack basic literacy or numeracy, and it is these adults who are least likely to have an employer willing to invest in their skills.
The country faces unparalleled levels of uncertainty, and the twists and turns of Brexit seem to be sucking up much attention and generating a great deal of frustration and fury. At this event we looked beyond Brexit at the crucial employment and skills challenges – now and in the future.
Where next for Universal Credit? The government’s flagship reform of the welfare system has been beset both by delays and growing concerns over its impact. We will discuss where we should go from here and how we can build a flexible safety net that meets people’s needs and supports those who can to work.
How can we build a technical education system that is fit for the future? With the government’s three million apprenticeship starts target slipping out of reach, concern over value for money and an ongoing review of the levy, we will examine the future of the system, and how we can deliver high quality apprenticeships accessible to all. With the launch of T-Levels just months away, we will explore how we can build a world-class system that helps all young people reach their potential.
How do we help in-work progression? With one in four workers earning below the real living wage, and with a large number stuck in low pay, we will examine the evidence of what works in terms of helping low-paid and low-skilled workers to move on and move up.
How do we promote lifelong learning for all? Rapidly advancing technology will transform the world of work in the coming years. This will bring both huge opportunities and profound challenges too, so we will explore what the National Retraining Scheme needs to do to help people to adapt and thrive.
What is the future for devolution? After some positive steps towards devolution around employment and skills, and with a month to go until mayoral elections across our major cities, we will consider what should be the next steps, and what powers and levers local areas need to build inclusive economies.
How do we close the disability employment gap? While employment stands at a record high, just half of those with disabilities or a long-term health or mental health condition are in work. A year on from the launch of the Work and Health Programme, we will examine good practice in welfare to work, and explore what else the government could do to deliver on its target of helping 1 million disabled people into work.
Delegates at the convention are drawn from across the full range of stakeholders leading experts and policymakers in employment, skills, health and welfare to examine how to tackle the challenges we face and bring reform to the UK’s employment services.
The Employment and Skills Convention provided an opportunity to: