The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has urged the UK government to address a national decline in upskilling, in a bid to kickstart economic growth and increase flagging productivity.

In a recent study “Skills Development: Policies for Enhancing the Employer Ecosystem”, the ACCA has argued that employers need financial help to address chronic underinvestment in training. ACCA characterised current career guidance as fragmented, with levels of support based largely on region and sector.

ACCA further noted that it believes in a Skills Tax Credit Pilot – focused on digital technology, sustainability and financial competence – would empower organisations to address chronic underinvestment in training. A trained workforce would boost the global competitiveness of the UK economy.

Similarly, a fundamental baseline assessment of careers guidance would provide the government with the data needed to identify gaps or weaknesses in provision, improve underperforming regions, and empower individuals to access new opportunities in an environment with fast-changing skills needs.

Commenting on this, ACCA policy and insights senior manager, Joe Fitzsimons, said: “Our data tells us 75% of employers want to reskill their staff. Yet, ACCA members and UK employers have expressed concern around the ability to recruit and upskill the talent businesses need to grow.

“In particular, members in small and medium sized organisations cite cost and lack of resources as challenging factors. These ACCA proposals would make a significant difference to the national recruitment and retention landscape, assisting national economic recovery and boosting productivity.”

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ACCA UK director, Abdul Goffar, further said: “The UK has witnessed a proliferation of education pathways and skills development initiatives, yet organisations across various sectors continue to highlight the ongoing challenge to upskill talent. Therefore, we need greater clarity on the options available, to give both employers and employees the opportunity to develop.

“ACCA’s proposals would allow companies to more efficiently navigate the skills landscape, and provide a tangible incentive for businesses to upskill, grow, and prosper. Improved national funding and upskilling will boost the UK economy, and aid national growth.”