PAC expresses ‘extreme concern’ at falls in further education and skills training

By December 15, 2022 Industry News

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a new report that says the Department for Education’s (DfE) £4 billion a year spend on activities designed to develop workforce skills in England is failing to deliver the skills essential to economic growth and prosperity.

The report’s key findings include:

  • The number of adults participating in government-funded further education and skills training has dropped from 3.2 million in 2010/11 to 1.6 million in 2020/21.
  • The fall has been particularly marked disadvantaged areas, with skills training in the 20% most disadvantaged areas of England falling by 39% between 2015/16 and 2020/21.
  • Employers are now spending less than they used to on workforce training, with the average expenditure on workforce training per employee falling in real terms from £1,710 in 2011 to £1,530 in 2019.

The Chair of the Committee, Meg Hillier MP said:

“Despite £4 billion a year of taxpayers’ money spent on skills programmes, participation has fallen off a cliff – especially among older workers and in poorer areas. The Government is not going to make inroads on levelling-up if it does not get ahead of this.

With UK workforce numbers falling the Government needs to get serious on skills. The future of the economy depends on it.”

The report can be accessed here. A press release from the Committee can be accessed here.


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