UKRI invest £8m into the Workforce Foresighting Hub

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, has announced an £8 million investment into the Workforce Foresighting Hub programme.

Posted on: 22/04/2024

As part of its innovation strategy, Innovate UK has been tasked with playing a key role in identifying critical innovation emerging skills gaps and future skills implications for UK businesses. Through their £8 million investment, Innovate UK recognises the role that the Workforce Foresighting Hub programme can play in addressing these key issues.

Through a series of collaborative workshops, the Workforce Foresighting Hub programme identifies what skills will be needed in 2-5 years to create an agile and flexible workforce that can exploit new and innovative technologies.

The programme will play a vital role in addressing the skills challenge and will allow the UK to compete on a global scale and lead future industry.

What is the skills challenge?

Rapid technological innovation is increasing on a global scale, meaning there are opportunities for growth in all sectors. However, to really exploit innovative technologies for the future, we must ensure a skilled workforce to develop, implement, manage and drive such technologies.

Due to the speed of this innovation, and the time it takes to create training provisions for new technologies, there can be a lag between the skill demand signal and the creation of new skills provision.

If we don’t have the skills we can’t benefit from the technology, so this lag impacts how quickly we can adopt these new technologies.

One way to reduce the lag is by looking further ahead to identify what skills will be needed in the future through workforce foresighting. This accelerates the skill provision creation process by triggering an earlier demand signal and allows UK businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

What is workforce foresighting?

Workforce foresighting identifies what organisations’ capabilities and workforce skills are needed in the future to help us adopt and exploit innovative technologies.

By taking a proactive approach and looking at what skills will be needed in 2-5 years’ time, we can create new skills provision and train the workforce to exploit these technologies, much quicker.

Why is workforce foresighting important?

The speed we can exploit innovative technologies has a big impact on how competitive UK organisations can be on a global scale. Often, we will have the new technology ready, but there isn’t a skilled workforce to fully exploit this. If we can increase how quickly we can adopt new technologies, the better chance UK businesses have to take market leading positions.

In contrast, failure to address this will mean missing out on opportunities to build the UK’s productivity and to take market leading positions, as mentioned in the Manufacturing the Future Workforce Report.

Workforce foresighting allows us to take a longer-term approach and react quicker to new skill demand signals, putting us in a better position to exploit new technologies and lead future industry.

What is the Workforce Foresighting Hub?

The Workforce Foresighting Hub provides the process, insight and recommendations for industry, policymakers and educators to adapt to continuing change, helping UK businesses to adopt innovation and succeed in the dynamic global marketplace.

How does the Workforce Foresighting Hub process work?

The process brings together experts from each of three categories – domain specialists/technologists, employers, and educators – for collaborative information-gathering workshops, as well as collating data from open source, global data sets.

All three groups participate in vital online workshops that provide the insights needed to produce a detailed report with recommendations.

This report details future supply chain capabilities, prototype future occupational profiles and recommended changes to current training provision to take forward and address the relevant skills challenge in that industry.

How do I get involved?

To learn more about the foresighting process and find out how to get involved with workshops, contact the Workforce Foresighting Hub team today.

Share this article

Related programme

Workforce Foresighting

Workforce Foresighting

How do we build a skilled workforce for tomorrow’s industries? The Workforce Foresighting Hub has developed a structured process, aligned with national policy, to help deliver a workforce to exploit innovative technologies in the UK. We’re supporting industry, policymakers and educators to adapt to continuing change.


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.