Rethinking the Skills Problem in a neo-liberal economy

Hugh Aston - 0.08
23/05/2019 (18:00-19:00)
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Professorial Inaugural Lecture by Professor Jonathan Payne

This inaugural lecture will begin with refreshments in the Hugh Aston Atrium from 5.30pm, and the talk will start at 6.00pm, and will last for approximately one hour. A drinks reception with canapés will follow the talk in the Hugh Aston Atrium.

It is often said that the UK has a ‘skills problem’ in terms of weaknesses in education and skills provision needed for economic and social well-being. However, progress towards a higher skills economy has been limited, with evidence of ‘over-qualification’ and poor ‘skills utilisation’. This points to the need to re-think the ‘skills problem’ and calls for broader policy measures to address employer demand for skills and improve job quality. At a time of ‘techno-panic’, where robots and artificial intelligence are said to be ready ‘to steal your job’, concerns around job quality vie with more immediate fears that the looming challenge is unemployment. The lecture charts the evolution of my thinking around tackling the ‘skills problem’ and raises some questions around what is possible given a ‘neo-liberal’ economy and growth model.

Speaker Biography:

Jonathan Payne is Professor of Work, Employment and Skills at Leicester Castle Business School, having joined De Montfort University in 2012. He currently heads up a new research centre, the People Organisations and Work Institute (POWI). After graduating in Politics from the universities of York and Manchester, Jonathan spent five years as a teacher of English at an ‘alternative’ comprehensive school, before embarking on a career in Higher Education. Between 1998 and 2012, he was a researcher with the Economic and Social Research Council’s Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) at Warwick Business School and Cardiff University. His research interests include the political economy of skill, work organisation and job design, low wage work, workplace innovation, and music and work. He has published widely in these areas and is co-author (with Caroline Lloyd) of Skills in the Age of Over-Qualification: Comparing Service Sector Work in Europe (OUP, 2016).


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