Here are 18 things to look out for in 2018 from the people and skills team

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1. 2018 is the Year of Engineering
The Year of Engineering 2018 is a year-long, cross-Government campaign aimed at raising the profile of engineering amongst 7 to 16 year olds and widening the pool of young people that consider engineering as a career. Look out for more blogs, tweets and events over the course of the year and get involved! @YoEgovuk @EEF_Economists #YoE

2. Implementation of T Level programmes
EEF will be responding to the Department for Education’s consultation on the implementation of the new T Levels. The introduction of T Levels represents yet another significant change to the vocational educational landscape. Look out for our full consultation response in early February on our People and Skills campaign page, and in the meantime, you can always email us your thoughts.

3. Managing the Migration Exit from Brexit report
Last year EEF reported on the initial impact of the Brexit vote on UK manufacturers ability to find the people and skill they need. We will once again be reporting on the impact of the vote on the recruitment and retention of EU workers as we head towards 29th March 2019 deadline, in Q2 of this year.

4. Smart skills spending – how should we be investing in HE?
Delivering one place on a STEM course such as Engineering at university is considerably more expensive compared to other courses. But with HEIs relying more and more on students fees to fund faculties, EEF will be looking at how funding for STEM courses had changed, and what government needs to do to make sure we have sufficient STEM graduates to fill the growing skills gap.

5. Careers strategy – sink or swim?
Late last year the government published its career strategy, which outlined plans to improve current careers provision. But did it really go far enough? You can read our initial thoughts on the careers strategy here. We will be following closely the launch of 20 new career hubs, career leaders and how the Government plans to ensure pupils get the information on technical education and apprenticeships. With 60% of manufacturers saying better informed careers advice in schools will get more young people into manufacturing, we cannot afford to get this wrong!

6. Apprenticeship starts data – will the numbers continue to plummet?
It was hard to miss the 59% drop in apprenticeship starts since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in May 2017. In May this year, it will a whole year since companies have have to pay to Apprenticeship Levy. Look out for analysis of the data as it comes through, and what it means for the government’s 3 million apprenticeships target. For now, we remain highly sceptical and want to see changes happen now.

7. The Institute for Apprenticeships adds “Technical Education” to its title
In April this year, the newly formed Institute for Apprenticeships will be renamed the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. It is not just a name change but also an expansion of its powers, including delivery of the Skills Plan and the new T Levels programme.

8. Gender Pay Gap reporting deadline
Organisations in scope will have to report their gender pay gap by 4th April this year on their website, and onto the Government’s reporting website. Organisations will also have to sign a statement to declare the information is accurate and the results must remain on their website for at least 3 years. Read Sara Meyer, Senior Legal Advisor, blog to find out more and how EEF can help you.

9. Government response to the Taylor Review

The Taylor Review of employment practices in the modern economy was published last year with many many recommendations made. You can read our take on some of the key proposals from the report here. We are now awaiting the Government’s response, which could be any day now so this is definitely one to watch.

10. Shared Parental Leave and Pay – an evaluation and review?
Despite Shared Parental Leave (SPL) approaching its three year anniversary this April, take up remains low. We suspect the Government will fulfil it’s commitment to review SPL and look at ways of promoting it further. This of course leads onto the question of SPL pay and we are awaiting the outcome of two important EAT outcomes to see what happens there….

11. EEF’S 2018 Manufacturing Conference – not to be missed!

EEF’s national manufacturing annual conference is being held on 20th Feb at QEII. Book your tickets here, to hear from speakers including Jeremy Corbyn (leader of the opposition), Steph McGovern (BBC broadcaster), Richard Reed (Co-founder of Innocent) and Martin Wolf (FT Chief Economics correspondent). The people and skills team will also be running a workshop, ‘Support and Sustain your Post-Brexit Workforce’ – places are limited so book your place now!

12. Migration Advisory Committee to publish it’s report

The MAC will be reporting to government on its recent call for evidence on the economic and social impact of the UK’s exit from the EU. This will provide the evidence and background the Government will then use to develop a post-Brexit EU migration policy post-transition period. And what about during the transition period? Well we’re still waiting for the Home Office White Paper! Read EEF’s full submission to the MAC here..

13. Increases to NMW and NLW and a look at what happens next
From April 2018 NMW and NLW will increase to £7.83 ph for 25+ year olds, £7.38 21 to 24 year olds. £5.90 for 18 to 20 year olds, £4.20 for under 18s and £3.70 for apprentices. We were pleased to see the LPC still to its current pathway, as recommended in our submission. The big question we’ll be asking for manufacturers this year is – what happens after 2020?

14. National Retraining Scheme to formally launch
Last year’s Industrial Strategy saw the Government introduce a new National Retraining Scheme. The scheme is designed to help adults retrain, and is being rolled out within the construction and digital industries first. EEF will be following the success of this programme and it could benefit the manufacturing industry and has already set out some key principles on how the funds should be spent.

15. GCSE and A Level results day
Each year, we carry out an analysis of the latest GCSE and A Level results. We look a long term trends such as the number of pupils taking STEM subjects at A Level and the take up of Maths and Physics amongst girls. This year will be a year since the introduction of the new, tougher, GCSE grading system – look out for the first analysis of its impact on grades.

16. General Data Protection Regulations
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force 25th May 2018 and there is a lot to learn! All UK employers will need to make changes to their approach to data protection, read EEF’s helpful ‘Preparing for GDPR and data protection changes’ for more information on how to comply.

17. Spring Statement 2018
Statements and budgets, autumn and spring! It has all been flipped upside down. On 13th March 2018, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will set out the next fiscal statement. Look out for EEF’s response and what we will be calling for in the people and skills space.

18. 10,000 twitter followers!
Follow our twitter handle @EEF_Economists to get all the latest manufacturing statistics, blogs and analysis. It will also help us reach our 10,000 followers target for 2018! #2018goals

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Education and Skills Policy Advisor

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