IoD welcomes Corbyn’s focus on lifelong learning, but…

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the British Chambers of Commerce this morning, Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“New technology will bring disruption to companies and employees alike, but innovative new business models also mean huge new opportunities for creating wealth and boosting productivity. We are pleased to see Jeremy Corbyn emerge as a techno-optimist today, and he is absolutely right to bang the drum for the importance of lifelong learning as a means of adapting to changes coming to the labour market over the next few decades.

“However, the way forward is not to simply throw money at the issue. The need to get a tight grip on the public finances has not gone away, so we do not think the solution of indefinite and entirely free provision of further education is the right one – as attractive as it might sound.

“The solution must be market-led and capable of responding quickly to the emergence of new sectors and technologies. As the IoD has already proposed, this can best achieved through supporting the growth of flexible, tech-enabled learning provision (like MOOCs, virtual reality and assisted learning algorithms), as well as tax breaks for both companies and individuals to invest in training. This is a much better way to make sure training will lead to improved job prospects.”

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