NFER statement on Levelling Up White Paper


Wednesday 2 February 2022

Commenting on today’s Levelling Up White Paper, Carole Willis, Chief Executive at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), said:

“The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) welcomes the Government’s commitment to providing extra investment to 55 local-authority areas in England with low education outcomes, and a renewed focus on tackling future skills gaps through extra high quality training. This needs to be of sufficient scale to tackle the challenges facing these areas.

“We particularly welcome the development of a Future Skills Unit to look at the data and evidence of where skills gaps exist, and in what industries, as the transformation of employment over the coming decades is predicted to be significant due to new technologies and major demographic and environmental change. In the absence of evidence to inform long term planning for educational provision to enable young people to develop the right skills – there is a real risk of extremely damaging effects of inaction, such as wider under-employment or unemployment and enduring social and economic problems”.



The nature of the change in the demand for skills in the labour market is not currently well-understood. This is why we are currently undertaking an important research programme, The Skills Imperative 2035: Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s Workforce which aims to explore what these changes will have, and specifically which key skills will be in greatest demand in future.