Date: 16 June 2017
Time: 14:00 - 14:30
There is good evidence of a strong positive relationship between skills and economic growth. It is a stronger relationship than that between educational qualifications and growth. Furthermore, skills shortages persist in countries such as the UK, even though there has been a large increase in the number of people with tertiary-level qualifications. This must be addressed at all levels of education policy. It is also important to consider economic changes, such as technological developments, when considering what skills are needed for economic growth. For example, much of the economic literature shows the importance of skill-biased technological change and its consequences for jobs required in the economy and how they are rewarded. An important question for vocational education and training (VET) policy is how to ensure people are equipped for the current needs of the labour market while also being versatile enough to find another job or re-train when the economy changes. This is a difficult issue in the face of much uncertainty about how economies may change and what jobs will be created as well as what jobs will no longer be required. We consider the challenges this uncertainty poses for research and policy in education, VET and lifelong learning.
Sandra McNally is a Professor of Economics at the University of Surrey. She is also Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research at the London School of Economics (http://cver.lse.ac.uk/) and Director of the Education and Skills programme at the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. Her recent work includes evaluation of government policies in relation to literacy; randomised control trials in the area of careers-related information; post-16 choices for students in England and their consequences for labour market outcomes. Sandra is a co-editor of the Economics of Education Review and a Research Fellow of IZA, Bonn.