Dame Kelly Holmes Trust has responded to the government’s 'Building our Industrial Strategy' green paper consultation, which will strive to address long-term challenges to the UK economy.

The strategy aims to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.

Our response focuses on the ‘people’ component of the strategy and the actions open to government to further ensure young people realise their full potential. Read our key recommendations below:

Recommendation 1: The importance of soft skills should be recognised and incorporated under Pillar 2 (Developing Skills), with greater acknowledgement about solutions that empower young people to realise these pre-employment. We present evidence in Section 2 demonstrating the current shortage of soft skills amongst young people in the UK and why industry is demanding traits such as confidence, teamwork and resilience to increase levels of productivity and encourage entrepreneurship.

Recommendation 2: The proposed ‘Transition Year’ – as initially outlined in the Skills Plan (2016) – should provide increased levels of support and concentration on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. This group are proven to face additional barriers and challenges to achieve the basic skills expected at the age of 16.

Recommendation 3: It is essential that innovative approaches are explored to engage effectively with disadvantaged groups, as continuing to deliver using the same methods as their primary and secondary education will result in limited progress. The success of the ‘Transition Year’ (and other pre-employment initiatives) will not be achieved solely through academic and vocational skills, but also through a change in mindset and behaviour which empowers young people to be more productive, achieve their full potential and make a valuable contribution to industry and the UK economy.

Recommendation 4: There currently exists no formal reference to a role for charities within the green paper. In recent years, the third sector has played a crucial role at reducing levels of youth unemployment, whilst also supporting a growth in social mobility and establishing strong partnerships with industry to enable young people to thrive in the workplace. Failure to effectively engage with this sector would result in a shortage of knowledge and best practice services and pathways for young people. The strategy should seek to develop solutions that further facilitate the links between industry and charities to reach mutually beneficial outcomes. Support should also be available pre and post NCS for those who would not normally take part to support the development of the basic skills.

Recommendation 5: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy should outline how it is going to deliver a joined-up cross-departmental approach across Government to invest in programmes that deliver multiple outcomes and wider benefits to society, through the Industrial Strategy.

Download our full consultation response here.