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National retraining scheme launches in Liverpool

National Retraining Scheme Launches in Liverpool

While technologies like AI and automation are transforming the way we live and bringing huge benefits to our economy, automation also means that some roles will become a thing of the past. Repetitive manual work and administration are at the greatest risk from computerisation, while skilled jobs and those that require human qualities such as empathy or creativity will fare better for longer. With the prediction that robots will replace 20 million jobs by 2030, the government are introducing a new training scheme for people whose jobs are at risk.

Initially, the National Retraining Scheme will be trialled in Liverpool and will help workers to gain the skills they need to change career. The scheme will start small, with each stage rolled out as it’s ready to be implemented. This will allows the government to learn as they go along and correct any issues before rolling out the scheme in other areas.

Post-industrial towns in the North and West Midlands will be hit the hardest by the economic impact of automation. This region of former mining communities and large coal-powered factories is already struggling with high levels of unemployment. Some 20 years ago, four million people across the UK worked in manufacturing, but according to the Office for National Statistics that figure has dropped by 30% as new technology replaces jobs.

The challenge to cultivate new business communities that will create jobs is a complex one. According to Oxford Economics, people whose jobs become obsolete because of industrial robots are likely to find that comparable roles in the services sector have also been squeezed by automation. This could worsen the economic inequality that already exists.

Technology experts have given the scheme the thumbs up, saying that we need to plan ahead and make provision for a productive economy. Even though the UK places behind countries such as Japan and China in terms of automation, it’s far cheaper to manufacture products and components in these countries because of cost-lowering automation. Robots don’t need heat, light or breaks and can be deployed at all hours of the day throughout the year.

Robot machine

While automation will undoubtedly result in job losses, it will also lead to the creation of new jobs. Worldwide, it’s expected that AI will result in 58 million new jobs by 2022. Tech experts say that although there will be a period of adjustment, automation isn’t here to put people out of jobs but to provide support or free them up from tedious repetitive work that doesn’t utilise the valuable human skills that machines can’t replicate.

Whilst the scheme is focusing on helping people most at risk of losing work, later versions could see people retraining or adding new skills across a much broader demographic. The fact is that technology is evolving so fast that no job is likely to remain unchanged. This means we need to be making investments in lifelong learning in order to future proof our skills and keep the British workforce competitive.

Contractors work across many industries and are therefore affected by automation to differing degrees. However, the specialist knowledge that contractors possess means that they’re less susceptible to being replaced with machines. Many contractors can deploy their skills across industries, meaning that they can adapt to market demand. Contractors also control their professional development, giving them the opportunity to target niche areas of high demand. To read about how automation will affect the recruitment of contractors see our article here.

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