Six “leading skills and labour market economists” have today been appointed to the Department for Education’s new skills and productivity board.

Led by chair Stephen van Rooyen, an executive vice president at international broadcaster Sky, the team will aim to provide independent “expert advice” on how courses and qualifications should align to the skills that employers need post-Covid-19.

In a letter to the chair, education secretary Gavin Williamson said the board should prioritise answering the following questions over the next 12 months:

  • Which areas of the economy face the most significant skills mismatches or present growing areas of skills need?
  • Can the board identify the changing skills needs of several priority areas within the economy over the next 5-10 years?
  • How can skills and the skills system promote productivity growth in areas of the country that are poorer performing economically?

The DfE will also “welcome the board’s advice on what ‘good’ looks like across the globe”.

Williamson said the evidence and analysis the board produces will play a “significant part in addressing the most pressing gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the labour market, helping to rebuild our economy post-Covid-19 and deliver a bold skills agenda”.

The six members are:

  • Arun Advani – University of Warwick: Assistant Professor, IFS Fellow
  • Claire Crawford – University of Birmingham: Reader in Economics
  • Andrew Dickerson – University of Sheffield: Professor of Economics and Director of Sheffield Methods Institute
  • Ewart Keep – Oxford University: Emeritus Professor in Education, Training and Skills, Department of Education Oxford University
  • Grace Lordan – London School of Economics: Associate Professor & Founding Director of the Inclusion Initiative
  • Sir Christopher Pissarides –London School of Economics: Regius Professor of Economics and Nobel laureate

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