Providing people with education and the opportunity to develop the right set of skills for their future is widely accepted as a significant determinant of life outcomes including health, socio-economic position and life expectancy.

Our work in this area:

Skills through Crisis: Upskilling and (Re)Training for a Green Recovery in Wales

In collaboration with the New Economics Foundation and building on research undertaken by the Wales TUC, I have published analysis showing the potential of investment in green jobs and skills for a prosperous, green and equal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on employment and the economy. Whilst challenging, the situation provides an opportunity to build back differently and seek to improve long-standing challenges in Wales.  

A ‘green and just recovery’ would aim to deliver good quality livelihoods whilst supporting rapid decarbonisation and improving biodiversity in Wales. This relies on having the right skills and training in place.

The main findings of the report include:

  • Over 60,000 jobs could be created in the green economy over the next 2 years with infrastructure investment. 
  • However, the current skills pipeline is not prepared for this demand with our analysis suggesting low apprenticeship and training numbers in key sectors compared to potential job growth. 
  • There is a mismatch between levels of existing employment and potential; the level of job creation is significant compared to existing numbers.
  • Funding to deal with this shortfall is insufficient to cope with demand and scale.
  • Targeted and sustained action is needed to ensure green growth industries provide entry for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people; women; disabled people and those furthest from the labour market. 

Skills could be grown and livelihoods created in industries that provide economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being. This visual shows the potential within industries for significant job growth and the current mismatch between numbers of people able to fulfil these roles.
Skills and Training for a Green Recovery in Wales

Education Fit for the Future in Wales

The Education Fit for the Future in Wales report, authored by Professor Calvin Jones (Cardiff Business School) in collaboration with the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, is a White Paper for discussion that calls for us to match the skills needed in the future with our education and qualifications system in Wales.

A recent Welsh Government review found that over the next decade, digital technologies will result in both job displacement and creation with greater impact on how we experience and approach work. Among its findings, the review calls on Welsh Government to shift the focus from examinations, testing and certification, in order to emphasise knowledge, learning and skills.

The world is changing. The 2018 Future Jobs Report found that 75 million jobs are expected to be displaced by 2022 in 20 major economies, but at the same time 133 million new roles could be created, driven by new products and growth. With social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges facing Wales such as responding to the climate emergency, growing our culture and language, tackling poverty, automation and population change – education and qualifications are crucial for different jobs in the future, but are also important in promoting well-being.

This White Paper for discussion acknowledges that the Welsh Government’s new Curriculum for Wales 2022 is an opportunity to think to the long-term in how we value, assess and resource skills for the future.

It calls for:

  • A significant increase in the number of teaching staff and resources to deliver the new curriculum, if it is to reach its potential.
  • Learning to be created and delivered in partnership with businesses, charities and other organisations across Wales.
  • A radical re-think of qualifications at age 16. The paper argues that current GCSEs are no longer fit for purpose and should be re-considered to reflect the aspirations of the Curriculum for Wales 2022 and the changing economy.
  • Assessments that focus on diversity, are centred around pupils not testing, providing greater academic value and benefit.

Findings from our Future Generations Report 2020

In the context of recovery from the economic recession, I am working with Government and other key contacts to ensure a green and just recovery – skills for the future of Wales is central to this.

Below are the areas I recommend that all public bodies, including Welsh Government, should focus on:

  • A national mission for delivering education and lifelong learning. What I mean by this is better join up between education, business, civil society and the people of Wales. Only by doing this will people gain the right skills for a life well-lived.
  • Skills must be seen as a driver of wider well-being.
  • Plan and prepare for how technological breakthroughs will change the way we live and work.
  • Champion the increasing demand for ‘softer skills.’
  • Re-think qualifications to reflect skills for the future.
  • Embrace lifelong learning as the new norm.
  • Ensure that our education and skills system is flexible to demographic change and works for everyone.
  • Take advantage of new environmental industries in Wales.

For my full evidence, assessment, key findings and advice please see the section on Skills on our designated website for the Future Generations Report.

Following the publication of our Future Generations Report, we have developed bite-sized and targeted products to help support the implementation of the Act and the recommendations outlined in the report including:

Useful Resources