Following on from the research paper A Higher Skills Ambition for NI, which Open College Network NI (OCN NI) commissioned back in Jan 2021, a further research report, again commissioned by OCN NI in collaboration with the Learning & Work Institute (L&W), was published on Monday 13th December.
The new research report entitled: Working Together-How learning and skills support can create an inclusive labour market in NI, is the next in a collaborative series from L&W which has developed projections for long-term unemployment for the UK and for a number of local areas in England and Wales. OCN NI commissioned this research with a specific focus on NI and using the latest Office for Budget Responsibility economic forecasts. It also explores and makes recommendations for appropriate policy responses and their implications for the Programme for Government as well as the 10x Skills Strategy.
The pandemic has led to sharp rises in the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits across the UK, including Northern Ireland. Long-term unemployment is also rising which can have particularly negative impacts. As we know, the longer someone is out of work, the less likely they are to move into work, and long-term unemployment can also negatively impact health and wellbeing. There are also clear links between long-term unemployment and learning & skills. Those with the lowest qualifications are more likely to be long-term unemployed, and improving learning and skills can help people to maintain employment by increasing adaptability to economic change.
As a leading P&T Awarding Organisation and local charity and social enterprise in Northern Ireland, OCN NI will continue to collaborate with L&W on a number of research projects in the future, which we hope will make a valuable contribution to NI policy makers, funders and learning networks for the benefit of the wider NI economy.
The new report can be downloaded from the Reports section of this website.