Technical fault

Since its launch in June 2016, the Intergenerational Commission has uncovered a wealth of evidence that raises questions about the extent to which we should expect the steady generation-on-generation living standards progress experienced during the 20th century to continue into the 21st century. The research has shown time and again that today’s young adults are facing challenges that differ from those of their predecessors – raising the need for a fresh approach to policy. This is the 20th paper for the Intergenerational Commission and fourth in our policy options series that explores potential ways of providing that fresh approach. We find that after decades of rising educational attainment the pace of that attainment growth appears to have slowed in the 21st century – contributing to a stalling of gains in pay among younger cohorts that pre-dates the financial crisis. In addition, the report finds a reduction in-work development opportunities for younger workers when compared to those afforded to previous generations. We propose a ‘twin-track’ approach to reforming the skills landscape in order to restart generational progress on human capital. This involves both ‘fixing’ the technical (non-A level/university) education offer for future generations of young people, and providing additional support for those lower-qualified young adults who have already passed through the education system but who find themselves less well-served by the development.

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