You are here

  1. Home
  2. The Open University aims to help transform the fortunes of employers

The Open University aims to help transform the fortunes of employers

In another collaboration with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) The Open University (OU) is contributing its 50 years of experience working with businesses to help employers prosper by assisting them in developing the skills they need.

It’s all part of the BCC’s new Future of the UK Economy initiative, chaired by the OU’s Chancellor Baroness Martha Lane Fox, who is also the BCC president.

The OU is part of the organisation’s Business Council, launched last year, which has identified five work areas known as “challenges” and the OU is part of the “People and Work Challenge”.

Recommendations for the UK economy future

The People and Work Challenge has contributed to a ten-point policy plan to develop realistic recommendations for the future of the UK economy, plus fresh and compelling proposals for the UK government.

These include improving access to apprenticeships and rolling out the Lifelong Learning Entitlement, plus ensuring leaders, managers and workforces are better equipped for a more digital and automated workplace.

According to the BCC’s latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook, published in January 2024, three quarters (76%) of companies attempting to recruit are facing difficulties, with a clear discrepancy between skills available and skills needed.

The survey says it is estimated that by 2030, nine in ten employees will need to reskill.

The OU’s own Business Barometer report from last year (published in partnership with the BCC), found that over a half (54%) of organisations don’t have any specific initiatives, skills programmes or workplace adjustments in place for specific talent pools including underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities or workers from diverse ethnicities.

Through our close partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce, The Open University has actively contributed to this report, sharing more than five decades of experience in working with the business community to develop skills for work through the delivery of high quality, lifelong learning to individuals.

We strongly support the report’s narrative that skills development should be seen by business leaders as an investment and not a cost, and that businesses, particularly smaller employers, need support and funding to strategically develop the skills they need.

There is a long-term, embedded skills gap, which holds back the economy and the report correctly places lifelong training and education as central to tackling this structural issue.

The Open University has a proven track record in collaborating with employers across the public, private and third sectors in delivering a range of flexible learning pathways.

These partnerships, which span across all four nations of the UK, have proved crucial for organisations looking to make the shift from simply recruiting new talent, towards developing their own more diverse, skilled workforces – driving retention in the process.

We hope this report helps to open up these opportunities to more workers at all levels and all ages, and that the recommendations are heeded by current and future governments.

Phil Kenmore
Director – Corporate Development and Partnerships, The Open University

Download the BCC’s People and Work report

Find out how we can help your organisation

Please contact us to speak to one of our business team advisors.

Contact us

Not on our mailing list?

Sign up to receive regular emails that are full of advice and resources to support staff development in your organisation.

Sign up to our emails