Workforce Foresighting

To strengthen its position and resilience, the UK must proactively develop the future workforce with the necessary skills to adopt emerging technologies.

The workforce challenge

Key challenges including climate change, security, sustainable agriculture and healthcare can all be addressed by technology innovation, but in the UK, progress is impeded by the lack of access to a workforce equipped with the necessary knowledge, and skills to drive these solutions forward.

A noticeable gap exists between the emergence of progressive technological innovations and the skills readiness of the available workforce to achieve adoption and scale up. This gap often results in delays, primarily due to a reactive approach. To ensure sustainable growth for the UK, three crucial elements must be harmonised and developed: its workforce and its technology innovations and the UK supply chain.

The answer lies in Workforce Foresighting: Identified in the Skills Value Chain, this is the process of understanding the skills that are required in line with technology innovation; working in parallel with technologists, educators, and the wider industry to ensure the right skills, at the right time, in the right place.

It is time for a proactive approach.

Manufacturing the Future Workforce

This report has been published to present the findings and recommendations of an international study into workforce development and its link to innovation, led by the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult with funding and support from the Gatsby Foundation.

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About the programme

  • In simplistic terms, Workforce Foresighting aligns the skills development of the future workforce, with the needs and opportunities of emerging technologies.

    By taking the necessary actions today, the UK can begin to develop a pipeline of talent that has the correct knowledge and skills to close the gap between innovation development, and innovation delivery.
    Working with Employers, Educators, Centres of Innovation and Government, the Foresighting process builds on the outputs of technology, industry, and geographic roadmaps; strategies and plans to identify the future capabilities required of businesses and their supply chains, define what the future skills needs of their workforces are likely to be and provide recommendations to achieve this.
    Workforce Foresighting provides clear guidance that can be utilised by partners to forecast where and when training can be planned to meet emerging technology and employer needs.

  • The WF-Hub has been funded and developed by Innovate UK.

    It is a development and delivery programme managed by the WF-Hub core team on behalf of Innovate UK under the guidance of a cross-departmental Steering Board.

    Foresighting teams will support partners and stakeholders to pinpoint challenges, and their solutions. Further specialists and educators are then identified who will work with employers to build a data-led model that will underpin an approach. Recommendations will be taken forward by sponsors working with government, education and training providers.

    The WF-Hub builds on initial Gatsby Foundation support followed up in the Emerging Skills Project funded by DfE.

  • The hub will provide insight into future workforce issues, that:
    • For employers – will identify future capability needs related to adopting innovative technologies,
    • For employers and educators – will define future skills required for successful technology adoption,
    • For educators and awarding bodies – will provide indications of changing occupations and duties to inform changes to standards and qualifications,
    • For training providers – will highlight changing demand signals, new curriculum and modular approaches, including mapping to current provision,
    • For Centres of Innovation – will provide a pathway to technology adoption.

  • Future skills needs are considered at an earlier opportunity, providing sufficient time for educators, training providers and employers to prepare the workforce for forthcoming technology adoption. Enabling the right skills to be applied, at the right time and place. This de-risks industrial and government investment in innovation and its wider adoption.

  • The WF-Hub provides an opportunity to take part and shape how the Workforce Foresighting approach delivers its aims and influences solutions that develop the future state of workforce skills.

  • Interest is actively sought from:

    • The Catapult Network and similar Centres of Innovation such as RTO’s, Educational and Sector Institutions, who can provide critical foresight regarding emerging technology,
    • Educators and Training providers – who can provide insight into the current further and higher education offer and CPD curricula,
    • Employers and Industry bodies, who can provide insight into the supply chain workforce challenges.

    By convening these 3 groups together, a collective approach to Workforce Foresighting will help overcome industry-wide skills challenges.


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Please contact us for more information on the programme activities.


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