Collection

Future of skills and lifelong learning

Foresight project exploring the future of skills and lifelong learning in a changing world.

The Government Office for Science looked at how changes in technology and an ageing population affect what skills the UK will need in the future. The project also considered how investment in skills and encouraging lifelong learning can have a positive impact on productivity.

This project provides policy-makers with evidence on the current and future state of skills and lifelong learning in the UK. The evidence base covers the following areas:

  • the current skills system and how this might change in the future
  • the growing importance of digital skills training
  • the critical factors that influence learning across a lifetime
  • the value of informal learning and how it is recognised
  • best practice for collecting and sharing information about workers’ skills and the demand for them
  • the economic return from investing in education

The project identified 5 main issues:

  • young adults have lower levels of numeracy and literacy in the UK than in other advanced countries
  • employers report that people leaving education are not work-ready
  • people with skills frequently do not use these skills
  • certain regions and sectors have a low supply of and demand for skills, leading to low productivity and slow growth
  • people are less likely to participate in learning as they age

Project report

  1. Future of skills and lifelong learning

    • Research and analysis

Evidence reviews

The project is informed by a number of independent evidence reviews, developed by experts from across academia and industry, and peer reviewed by independent academics. These papers provide analysis of the future issues facing the UK skills system.

  1. Skills and lifelong learning: the benefits of adult learning

    • Research and analysis
  2. Skills and lifelong learning: digital participation

    • Research and analysis
  3. Skills and lifelong learning: meeting digital skills demand

    • Research and analysis
  4. Skills and lifelong learning: digital skills in further education

    • Research and analysis
  5. Skills and lifelong learning: adult basic skills levels

    • Research and analysis
  6. Skills and lifelong learning: attitudes towards learning

    • Research and analysis
  7. Skills and lifelong learning: motivating engagement in learning

    • Research and analysis
  8. Skills and lifelong learning: informal learning in the family and community

    • Research and analysis
  9. Skills and lifelong learning: learning across the lifetime

    • Research and analysis
  10. Skills and lifelong learning: learning in the workplace

    • Research and analysis
  11. Skills and lifelong learning: skills demand and mismatch

    • Research and analysis
  12. Skills and lifelong learning: public policy and skills demand

    • Research and analysis
  13. Skills and lifelong learning: gaps in training provision

    • Research and analysis
  14. Skills and lifelong learning: employer views and public policy

    • Research and analysis
  15. Skills and lifelong learning: UK's current and future skills mix

    • Research and analysis

Essays

The project is also informed by a number of independent essays, developed by important thinkers at the forefront of skills and lifelong learning research.

  1. Skills and lifelong learning: cost of skills underutilisation

    • Research and analysis
  2. Skills and lifelong learning: labour market anticipation

    • Research and analysis
  3. Skills and lifelong learning: investment in skills

    • Research and analysis
  4. Skills and lifelong learning: economic returns to education

    • Research and analysis
  5. Skills and lifelong learning: low skills traps

    • Research and analysis

Workshop reports

Announcements

Published 11 May 2016
Last updated 27 November 2017 + show all updates
  1. Final project report published - 'Future of skills and lifelong learning'.
  2. Added 2 new evidence reviews on the benefits of adult learning and digital participation.
  3. Added 2 evidence reviews on digital skills and an essay on the cost of skills underutilisation.
  4. Added an evidence review on adult basic skills levels.
  5. Added a workshop report on learning in the digital age.
  6. Added essay on labour market anticipation.
  7. Added evidence review on attitudes towards learning.
  8. Added 3 essays on investment in skills, economic returns to education and low skills traps.
  9. Added the evidence review: 'Skills and lifelong learning: motivating engagement in learning'.
  10. Added the following evidence reviews: Informal learning in the family and community; Learning across the lifetime; and Learning in the workplace.
  11. Updated the main project text to reflect the current status of the project, and to add a link to the Foresight Projects blog. Published five new evidence reviews.
  12. First published.