DfE outlines next steps for UK’s first skills taxonomy

DfE puts out notice for first two-year phase of work to develop skills map

DfE puts out notice for first two-year phase of work to develop skills map

Proposals for a map of skills provision to determine shortages across England have progressed, with plans for the first phase of work beginning in November. 

The Department for Education last year revealed ambitions for a ‘skills taxonomy’. This would act as an algorithm to identify and map skills shortages for jobs and occupations, and develop future college courses. 

Education chiefs predicted the taxonomy could play a role in developing local skills improvement plans (LSIPs). These documents would outline priority post-16 skills needed in regions or counties developed by business-led boards. 

The East Midlands and Sussex chambers of commerce developed their own local skills taxonomies when creating their trailblazer LSIPs earlier this year. 

The DfE’s Unit for Future Skills has put out a pipeline notice for a £50,000 contract for the first phase of work, delivered over two years from November. 

That phase of work, according to the notice, is for stakeholder engagement, detailing methodology, and developing a detailed workplan for developing the skills taxonomy. 

The second phase, subject to a separate contract, will focus on developing the taxonomy itself. 

The notice said a review will take place after phase one to evaluate “quality and feasibility” to determine whether to proceed to phase two. 

The call for bidders is expected to go out at the end of the month. 

The notice said: “The Unit for Future Skills within the Department for Education is seeking to establish a UK-specific taxonomy that will enable the department (and government more widely) to better organise and describe LMI [labour market information] and extract greater insights from it. 

“This will greatly improve our understanding of what jobs require which skills, and which qualifications provide different skills. This in turn will help identify skills mismatches, allowing policy makers, education providers, employers etc to respond appropriately.” 

The latest planned contract tender followed a £25,000 research review last year by Frontier Economics for the education secretary’s Skills and Productivity Board, a group of labour market and skills economists tasked with influencing the direction of policy in skills. 

It is expected the board will use the taxonomy to highlight areas of skills shortages that could determine future policy to address gaps. 

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