Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute

The successful vaccine rollout means our economy is reopening and starting to recover after successive lockdowns led to some of the sharpest drops in economic output on record.

Vacancies are back to pre-pandemic levels and it looks like unemployment may be close to its peak – who’d have thought at the start of the crisis that the economy would shrink by almost 10%, yet unemployment would only have risen to around 5% (though of course every extra person out of work represents a reason to act)?

The main reason is the Government’s economic support, in particular the furlough scheme, which has protected millions of jobs.

Though Learning and Work Institute’s analysis shows some groups and areas of the country have been harder hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic than others.

To start that discussion, here’s five areas I think we’ll need to focus on:

1. Finding work quickly 

Long-term unemployment is on the rise and is particularly damaging to people’s future prospects: the longer you are out of work, the less likely you are to find a job.

With youth long-term unemployment already up around 50% in a year, will the Government’s Restart programme be enough?

2. Growing opportunity across the country

The crisis has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities, with some groups (like young people and lone parents) and areas (like places where unemployment was already high before the crisis) being hit hardest.

This makes the Government’s aim of ‘levelling up’ even more important, but also more challenging.

How can we increase opportunities where currently they are lowest?

3. Supporting young people

Young people have seen the largest falls in employment during the pandemic, too few gained level 3 qualifications before the crisis, and some groups (such as 16-17 year olds) too often miss out on help altogether.

We’ve argued for a Youth Guarantee so all young people are offered a job, training place or apprenticeship and an ambition for three quarters of 25 year olds to have at least a level 3.

How can we deliver opportunity for all young people?

4. Facilitating retraining

The combination of longer working lives and increasing economic change was expected to increase the need to retrain and upskill before the crisis. The pandemic is likely to have accelerated structural shifts (such as online shopping and remote working), making this a more pressing and urgent issue, particularly as furlough ends in September and not everyone will be able to return to their previous jobs.

Yet policy has yet to catch up with this new reality.

How do we best support retraining and upskilling?

5. Growing good work

The decade since the financial crisis was one of slow growth and too many were in low paid work with limited opportunities for development. There are lots of uncertainties, including the extent to which changes during the pandemic (such as remote working) will persist and affect the jobs market in different parts of the country (such as city centres).

There are huge opportunities ahead to harness our world-leading expertise in the creative, green and service sectors among others.

How do we accelerate growth and good work, and ensure all parts of the country benefit?

These are big questions, and ones we need to address.

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, Learning and Work Institute

Recovery and Renewal Event

Our Employment and Skills Convention will look at what comes next and we will be asking Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Kate Green, Shadow Secretary of State for Education about how we build back stronger.

Most importantly, how we ensure a sustained recovery and prosperity for all. Join us on Thursday 1 July 2021 and sign up for your free place now.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page