With skills and technology at the heart of the UK government’s investment plans, the time is right to change.
Last week’s Spending Review in the UK outlined the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19. It’s likely to take at least five years to recover from it, but we must start that recovery now. And that means, in part, a focus on new skills.
The Spending Review document has upskilling and reskilling at its heart, as part of its drive to ‘level up the UK across all regions. For example, £375m is being invested in the National Skills Fund in 2021/22, with £138m for technical courses for adults, and £127m distributed between the Plan for Jobs, traineeships and the National Careers Service.
Improving the UK skills pipeline will drive economic growth and productivity; that’s what the government believes. We believe in the importance of new skills as well; the government recognises that the world is changing and that new skills are needed across the UK workforce if we’re going to keep up with the rate of change.
Other investments announced in the Review indicate where these new skills we will fall: sustainability and green technologies, and the kind of digital transformation that we advocate at Generation CFO.
In particular, the UK government wants to drive transformation in SMES; £50.7m has been set aside for business support programmes to improve leadership, management and technology adoption, which should increase productivity.
One of our partners, Soldo.com, has been leading the drive to enable SME’s with better spend management tools and has some interesting examples of public sector innovation, including the use of procurement cards by Italian public sector workers during the pandemic. This simply can not happen without leadership and management understanding the tech opportunity.
The government is also putting the public sector through wide-ranging transformation, unveiling plans to modernise the NHS and care system and improve core systems and processes in HMRC, the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Department for Education. Security will be modernised and the construction sector has been earmarked for major improvements in the use of data.
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It all demonstrates how the digital change agenda will only accelerate in the early years of the 2020s. Earlier this year, we said that now is the time to get started with transformation. The disruption of the pandemic has forced us to innovate and reset. The government’s ambitions put the pressure on further and open up opportunities change.
And these opportunities can only be made possible with more innovation from the board. Soldo’s CFO Dynshaw Italia describes himself as having a growth mindset, despite being an expert in financial management and risk, and a fintech innovator, despite being a business director. These hybrid leaders will be critical to the change.
We all must take the time, as this year nears its close, to take stock of our teams and our own skills and make a plan to act in the New Year. This includes sustainability as well as technology – the move towards a greener economy will drive as much change as the tech. The momentum is building, and we need to make sure we’re riding the wave before it breaks.
This article is co-authored by Chris Argent founder of Generation CFO and Soldo. Soldo is a spend management platform that helps you Escape the chaos of agonising admin, painful processes and blinkered visibility.