Back on Track: Retraining in the Covid-19 Era
Government must do more to retrain COVID-hit workforce
The Scottish Government must throw its full weight behind a broad and deep retraining programme for workers who lose out due to the consequences of Covid-19, Reform Scotland, the independent think tank, says today.
Scotland is facing an unemployment crisis “on a scale not seen since the 1980s” – 736,500 people in Scotland have been furloughed. Job vacancies are falling and there has been a drop of up to 80% on this time last year in Aberdeen and a 67% drop in Glasgow.
In a new paper, Back on Track: Retraining in the Covid-19 Era, Reform Scotland argues that the Scottish Government must act now to prepare for the worst. Steps should include:
- a major expansion of its programme of Individual Training Accounts, which currently covers less than 1% of the number of people furloughed.
- a new partnership with the private sector to drive the retraining agenda – industry has the ability to simultaneously retrain the workforce, create jobs and expand the tax base in order to fund public services. Councils, the third sector and the unions should also be involved in planning and delivery.
- ensuring the new Scottish National Investment Bank identifies investment opportunities that will create new jobs in growth sectors.
- Government retraining programmes must adapt for the lockdown generation. While there are huge opportunities from embracing technology, there will be data, device and space barriers to some who need that help most.