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  • HOPE not hate

Mind the Skills Gap

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

A new analysis by the Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) emphasises the importance of skills in ‘levelling up’. Written up here in the Yorkshire Post – who report that between 14,100 and 21,700 extra jobs could be created in Bradford and Leeds alone, were skills disparities to be closed – the paper draws out the importance of skills in reducing regional inequalities.

The CPP finds that “If the share of the local working age population without any formal qualifications were reduced in every area to the rate seen in the top 10% of local authorities…employment in England would be up to 573,000 higher.”

These are questions which play directly into our own work on cohesion and resilience. The data behind our 2020 Towns Report found that education was one of the strongest predictors of attitudes. The chart below shows this. It depicts migration liberalism – i.e. the prevalence of positive attitudes to migration and multiculturalism – against the proportion with no qualifications.

The results are stark, with a very strong link between the two factors. Towns with low education levels are likely to have fewer opportunities, higher deprivation and – correspondingly – more hostile attitudes to change and difference.

There are many other local level factors which can affect risk. But big place disparities when it comes to skills and education remain a central challenge in building resilience.

On Thursday April 29th at 11am we will be running the fourth in our What Works webinar series, looking at tackling narratives of scarcity in deprived communities. It will centre questions about pressure on jobs, housing and services – and how you can create opportunities which prevent these things from spilling into hostility towards migration and multiculturalism.


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