Birmingham City Council cabinet member for jobs and skills, Councillor Brett O’Reilly, explains why we all need to Step Forward to help improve the skills of our city.

Skills levels in the Birmingham city region will have a major impact not just on future economic growth but on ensuring we pursue inclusive growth that reaches out to all citizens in all parts of our city, and ensuring that nobody is left behind.

The consequence of not increasing skills levels by 2026 will be:

  • 174,000 low skilled people chasing 150,000 low paid skilled jobs – a surplus of 24,000 low skilled workers with an increasing risk of unemployment
  • 85,000 people with intermediate skills will chase 80,000 jobs – a surplus of 5,000 people
  • Employers will struggle to recruit to the estimated 230,000 high skilled jobs with only 184,000 high skilled workers – a shortage of 46,000

So while we are unfortunately behind other core cities in terms of skills levels, the city is already working hard to improve things. And I deliberately say ‘city’ rather than ‘city council’, as we can only do this together. Other than in schools and adult education, the local authority is not a direct provider, so we need everyone who delivers or invests in skills and training to invest in a shared city-wide vision.

That is why today we are publishing a cabinet report called Step Forward: Upskilling for Life. Working in partnership with the public, private and third sectors, as well as the Local Enterprise Partnership, we will be campaigning directly with employers to encourage the upskilling of the workforce, co-ordinating support and guidance available so people can choose the right qualifications for the career paths they want to take; whether it is future proofing with transferable skills, or training for the emerging industries of the future, we are calling on everyone to Step Forward and make Birmingham THE skills city.

To full report can be found here (page 86):