Progressive Futures

Education, pre-distribution and social justice

7 September 2017

Global competition and regional growth

Policy Network

In today’s global economy, education and skills are the driving forces behind progress. However, according to the OECD 80 million people in the developed economies do not possess the most basic skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace.

In the UK context, skills-based inequalities are rising and social mobility is stagnant. This calls for more effective, pre-distributive intervention in education, skills, parenting, and childcare to boost the relative position of children and young people from low income households.

At the same time, despite the increasing numbers of higher educated individuals, many employers often find that graduates do not possess applicable skills required for a job. Universities and the HE sector are required to adapt to simultaneously compete in a global higher education market, provide graduates with appropriate skills, and perform their duties as modern, civic forces contributing to regional growth.

This new Policy Network collection of memos, in association with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Applied Social Sciences Unit and the Samuel Lindow Foundation, sets out ideas on the extent of, and the means by which, public policy in education, skills and learning can shape the distribution of pre-tax incomes in a more regionally balanced and socially just way.  Over the coming year, Policy Network will continue to build on these ideas and avenues in collaboration with the Samuel Lindow Foundation, working within the UCLan Higher Education Policy Initiative.

Photo credit: Mikkel Bigandt /