Russell Group urges government to build "bulletproof" UK skills pipeline

25 October 2021

The Russell Group has urged Ministers to use the Comprehensive Spending Review to build a bulletproof UK skills pipeline. Today's iNews, "Universities short of cash to train new doctors as Government funding fails to cover bills" features our analysis which shows how additional Government funding for teaching costs for the Covid cohort of medical students is not enough to support five years of high-quality training. In addition, the Government's intention to return to pre-pandemic levels for medical and dentistry places would mean 1,000 fewer places each year compared to the number who started training this year.

Sustainable funding for teaching affects UK higher education as a whole: 2021 figures show funding deficits average £2,460 for each medical student per year and £1,940 per student per year in STEM subjects. For the Government to maintain the highest quality university teaching to meet the UK's skills needs, it should guarantee teaching grants on a per student basis and in real terms over the duration of this spending review period.

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said:

“One thing that has become abundantly clear over the course of the last 18 months is that our country has benefitted from and needs more medical professionals and scientists. However, you can’t train these highly skilled workers overnight and you can’t train them without properly sustainable funding in place.

“As we start to rebuild our economy and learn lessons from the pandemic, the UK will need a bulletproof skills pipeline that can ensure our NHS and businesses are ready for anything. It would also be helpful if the Government could look again at its decision not to increase the cap on medical places for the 2022 intake of students.

“The Spending Review is an opportunity for government to double down on skills, investing to maintain the highest quality research-led learning and teaching and addressing deficits in disciplines like medicine that threaten the sustainability of courses critical to the future of our society and economy.” 

Read the full article in iNews and our briefing on Skills and Education.

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