Press release

Improving the skills needed to capitalise on innovation

UK businesses are being given the chance to help shape a competition to boost the impact of innovation by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The competition, part of the UK Futures Programme, will launch in January, when employer-led applications for funding will be invited for new approaches to deal with workforce development challenges which prevent UK businesses from capitalising on innovation.

In order to make sure the competition gets to the heart of the matter, UKCES has launched an online consultation seeking perspectives on the skills and business practices needed to maximise the value of UK innovation.

Ian Kinder, Executive Director at UKCES, said:

The UK has always had a strong reputation when it comes to innovation, which is essential to improving productivity, establishing new goods and services, and encouraging economic growth.

In the last four years the UK has risen from 14th to second place in the Global Innovation Index. However, other countries are not standing still. The UK’s investment in research and development is still low compared to others, and our innovation ranking is yet to translate into the economic success it would suggest.

An assessment of the UK’s science and innovation system identified talent as one of the weakest elements with worrying deficiencies in basic skills, STEM skills and management. Since the economic benefits of innovation are realised through businesses, the skills, processes and management at play within them are critical to ensuring the value of innovation is maximised.

In order to effectively address this problem we need to understand in detail the skills issues that are holding us back. I would urge businesses to engage with this short consultation and help us target our offer on these hard-to-solve problems.

The online consultation is available at:

The consultation is open to all organisations who wish to take part and will close at 5pm on 12th January 2015.

More information about the UK Futures Programme, including guidance documents for prospective applicants, is available on the UKCES webpages.