Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Investment in adult skills in decreasing in the UK – here’s why we should be worried


NIESR's Matt Bursnall and Stefan Speckesser ask are we right to be concerned about access to skills in the UK?


Recently, the FT showed that contrary to popular belief the most troubling issue for SMEs in Europe is not access to finance but access to skills – with the level of concern and the gap between the issues getting larger.

Monday, 9 October 2017

What are the labour market outcomes associated with vocational education and training?

Pietro Patrignani is a Senior Economic Consultant at London Economics working on CVER projects. In this blog he looks at the outcomes for those on vocational paths using newly matched data.


What’s new?

For the first time, the matched Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) data has been made available for analysis of qualification attainment and labour market outcomes in England. This dataset combines information from different school (National Pupil Database), Further Education (Individualised Learner Record) and Higher Education (HESA) data sources in England with labour market outcomes information from HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions. The key advantage of this matched dataset is that it contains detailed information from administrative data sources on both labour market outcomes and also early scholastic attainment (including Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 test score information), but is not restricted to a small sample of individuals (as in the 1970 British Cohort Study).

Monday, 25 September 2017

Three million new apprenticeships – but how many of these are completed and achieved?

Matt Bursnall and Stefan Speckesser from CVER and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research ask what do we currently know about apprenticeship achievement?


The government’s target to create three million apprenticeships by 2020 is a key element of their programme for improving technical education for young people in England and helping to reduce skills gaps. However, the number of apprenticeship starts is only one way to judge progress. Of equal importance is how many apprenticeships are actually achieved. Published statistics do not answer this question well because achievement rates are calculated for apprenticeships that ended in an academic year using a relatively opaque measure.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The benefits of intermediate level skills

Using findings from a study of all countries of the European Union, CVER's Vahé Nafilyan and Dr Stefan Speckesser look at new evidence on the economic and social cost of low skills


A new major study by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) seeks to provide evidence for policy-makers on the economic and social cost of low skills in the EU. The authors [1] of this blog were part of the team which estimated the costs (and/or foregone benefits) of low skills to individuals, businesses, the economy and society at large.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Brexit and the skills challenge

Sandra McNally, CVER's Director, on skills in the UK in light of Brexit


The UK’s productivity suffered a shock in 2008 from which it has not recovered, and the ‘skills problem’ needs to be addressed. Within the context of a broader industrial strategy, improving skills is part of the solution – but Brexit may well harm these efforts if the feared negative economic effects put additional pressure on public finances.

Likewise, Brexit will not help if prolonged uncertainty discourages employer investment in skills; nor if employers substitute capital for labour as a response to migration barriers. However, Brexit does do is bring the skills problem into sharper focus.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Britain's skills problem

CVER Director, Professor Sandra McNally,  on the shortage of technical level skills


It is well known and acknowledged in the government’s Industrial Strategy that Britain has a skills problem: ‘We have a shortage of technical-level skills and rank 16th out of 20 countries for the proportion of people with technical qualifications’. As the Green Paper also says, ‘a bewildering complex array of qualifications, some of which are poor quality, makes the system hard to use for students and employers’.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Is there a benefit to post-16 remedial policies?

Clémentine Van Effenterre, a researcher at the Paris School of Economics and CVER, reviews the impact of remedial interventions for post-16 students


Remedial interventions in tertiary education are under scrutiny in most OECD countries. They are particularly important in a context of increasing demand for skilled workers. However, they are often costly, and their efficiency in boosting student performance has been questioned. This debate has gained particular relevance in England given recent policy changes that require students who do not get at least a grade C in English or maths in GCSE to repeat exams in these subjects. The low pass rate amongst those who re-sit has raised questions about the sustainability of the policy. What can be done to improve mathematics and English attainment to help students achieving these new requirements? What types of remedial interventions are efficient to address the need of students older than 16? In this context, we have reviewed economic literature on the impact of remedial interventions in tertiary education.