Future Ready Skills Commission

The Future-Ready Skills Commission was an independent Commission made up of experts and leading thinkers from business, education, local government and think tanks.

Read the Final Report

The Future-Ready Skills Commission was an independent Commission made up of experts and leading thinkers from business, education, local government and think tanks. Its reports and recommendations are below.

It was chaired by Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, and supported by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The Commission’s aim was to explore how greater devolution could create a skills system that better meets the needs of individuals, businesses and the economy to ensure that people are properly equipped for the jobs of the 21st century.

Over more than two years, it conducted an in-depth examination of the UK skills system, from post-16 education through to adult skills and career development, drawing upon national and international examples of best practice.

In September 2020 the Commission issued its final report, A Blueprint for a Future-Ready Skills System, which contained nine key recommendations to create a devolved skills system focused on people, businesses and local economies.

The report offers a vision of a skills system where employers are able to recruit the talent they need, and individuals can better access opportunities, leading to more resilient, flexible and dynamic local labour markets that work for all.

Its recommendations are:

  • Ensure the funding system offers fair access regardless of age, level of attainment, background and learning route alongside reversing the long-term decline in adult training
  • Empower areas to design services around the individual to address complex and interrelated health, employment and skills issues
  • Everyone should have the right to quality information about jobs and careers, no matter what their stage in life
  • Employers should take greater ownership of their talent management and skills development, aided by a joined-up approach to business support that means they can find the help they need, regardless of the route they take to find it
  • In order that people can gain the right skills needed for good quality work in their area, all adult skills and careers funding needs to be devolved
  • Recognise that areas are best placed to understand their own skills requirements and implement statutory five-year strategic skills plans to make it happen
  • Ensure that training meets the current and future skills needs of regional labour markets, delivery agreements with skills providers should be put in place, supported by investment funding
  • Large-scale public infrastructure projects designed to level up areas should include an additional skills premium of up to 5% of the total budget to maximise their economic potential
  • The Apprenticeship system needs national review to make it work more effectively, and this should include recognising and resourcing areas as the key route to employers and individuals

A Blueprint for a Future-Ready Skills System

The Future-Ready Skills Commission’s final report contains nine recommendations that together would lead to an adult skills and training system better able meet the needs of local economies, and future challenges and opportunities in the workplace.

Key documents
The Commissioners


  • Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council


  • Bill Adams, Regional Secretary, TUC
  • Nicola Addyman, Editor of Weekly Programmes, BBC
  • Simon Ashworth, Chief Policy Officer, Association of Employment and Learning Providers
  • Nav Chohan, Principal of Shipley College
  • Mandy Crawford-Lee, Director of Policy and Operations, University Vocational Awards Council
  • Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, Learning and Work Institute
  • Beckie Hart, Regional Director, Yorkshire and the Humber, CBI
  • David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges
  • Renee Hunt, Director of Group Digital Platforms, Sky
  • Sarah Longlands, Director IPPR North, Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Merran McRae, Chief Executive, Wakefield Council
  • Rashik Parmar, IBM Fellow and VP Technology, Europe Chair of Leeds City Region Employment & Skills Panel
  • Mandy Ridyard, Financial Director, Produmax
  • Mark Roberts, Co-Founder, Beer Hawk
  • Katie Schmuecker, Head of Policy and Partnerships, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Tony Wilson, Institute Director, Institute for Employment Studies (IES)
  • Will Richardson, Senior Partner of PwC’s Leeds Office

Thanks and acknowledgments

The Future-Ready Skills Commission would like to thank the following individuals for their invaluable help and assistance:

  • Emily Chapman, National Union of Students
  • Tom Davidson, Sky
  • Arianna Giovannini, IPPR
  • Mike Hawking, JRF
  • Chris Jones
  • Harminder Matharu, AELP
  • Anna Round, IPPR
  • Tom Stannard, Wakefield Council
  • The officers of Mayoral Combined Authorities for sharing their experiences

Note: Commissioners’ roles and titles as of the publication of the final report, September 2020