Future of skills and lifelong learning

The Government Office for Science looked at how changes in technology and an ageing population affect what skills the UK will need in the future. The project also considered how investment in skills and encouraging lifelong learning can have a positive impact on productivity.

This project provides policy-makers with evidence on the current and future state of skills and lifelong learning in the UK. The evidence base covers the following areas:

  • the current skills system and how this might change in the future
  • the growing importance of digital skills training
  • the critical factors that influence learning across a lifetime
  • the value of informal learning and how it is recognised
  • best practice for collecting and sharing information about workers’ skills and the demand for them
  • the economic return from investing in education

The project identified 5 main issues:

  • young adults have lower levels of numeracy and literacy in the UK than in other advanced countries
  • employers report that people leaving education are not work-ready
  • people with skills frequently do not use these skills
  • certain regions and sectors have a low supply of and demand for skills, leading to low productivity and slow growth
  • people are less likely to participate in learning as they age