https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/18/building-a-skilled-workforce-for-the-developing-world/

Building a skilled workforce for the developing world

two young apprentice chefs

Today’s blog looks at the initial roll out of the National Retraining Scheme as well as stories on harassment at universities and children’s mental health.

National Retraining Scheme

Today, Thursday 18 July, we have announced the initial roll-out of the National Retraining Scheme, which will start with a new digital service in Liverpool to support people whose jobs could be at risk in the future due to evolving technology. This has been covered by the Telegraph, BBC Online, TES and FE Week.

Adults aged 24 or over, without a degree and earning low and medium wages will be eligible to test the service before it is rolled out in the coming months, with the full service expected to be available from 2022.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

Technologies like AI and automation are transforming the way we live and work and bringing huge benefits to our economy, but it also means that jobs are evolving and some roles will soon become a thing of the past.

The National Retraining Scheme will be pivotal in helping adults across the country whose jobs are at risk of changing to gain new skills and get on the path to a new, more rewarding career.

This is big and complex challenge, which is why we are starting small, learning as we go, and releasing each part of the scheme only when it’s ready to benefit its users.  We’re beginning with the launch of the Get Help to Retrain digital service in the Liverpool City Region first, working alongside our partners the CBI and TUC, to make sure we get it right and the service works for the people who need it.

Harassment at universities

Today, the Telegraph published an article based on a Freedom of Information request, showing that there has been a tenfold increase in reports of sexual harassment at universities since 2014.

The government has requested that the Office for Students work with universities to tackle harassment and hate-crime in higher education, including the implementation of UUK Taskforce’s recommendations.

Higher education providers should have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, to investigate and swiftly address reports of sexual misconduct. We encourage institutions to be proactive in tackling these issues and to break down barriers to reporting incidents.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Sexual violence and harassment is disgusting. It can have a devastating impact on victims and is completely unacceptable – they should always be reported so action can be taken.

That’s why we asked Universities UK to establish a specific taskforce to tackle Sexual violence and harassment and tasked the Office for Students (OfS) to work with institutions to implement its recommendations.

Additionally, the OfS and its predecessor body have invested £4.7m to support projects focussed on tackling sexual and gender-based violence, online harassment and hate crime in higher education.

Mental Health

Today, BBC Online reported that there has been a 50% increase in referrals to child mental health services from primary school age pupils in the last three years. This is based on Freedom of Information responses from 45 trusts across the UK providing services to primary school age pupils. This story was also covered on the Today Programme and BBC Breakfast.

Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be treated as such. That is why the Government has made children’s mental health a key priority. Through our new compulsory health education all children will be taught how to look after their mental wellbeing and recognise when classmates are struggling.

A Government spokesperson said:

We are determined to improve mental health support for children and we are transforming services through the NHS Long Term Plan - backed by an extra £2.3 billion a year - so that 345,000 more children and young people have access to specialist mental health care by 2023/24.

Early intervention is vital and to ensure children and young people have quicker access to an increased range of support and treatments, we are training a new dedicated mental health workforce for schools and colleges across the country, and teaching pupils what good mental and physical health looks like.

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