Essential Skills and Why We Need Them Now - Business in the Community

Essential Skills and Why We Need Them Now

Find out about essential skills and why they are needed to move quickly through recession and build back better, closing the disadvantage gap.

This Business in the Community (BITC) factsheet, sets out the essential skills and why they are needed to move quickly through recession and build back better – closing the disadvantage gap.


Even before COVID-19, business, government and educators were raising concerns that the UK workforce lacked the skills needed to respond to the fast-changing nature of work, innovate and raise productivity.

The global coronavirus pandemic has catapulted us into a changed landscape. Overnight, employees have had to adopt to remote working, pivot in their roles or adapt their skills to completely new industries. For young people in education, a dramatic shift to online learning and changes to final assessments are among the challenges that will impact most of those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

With estimates that unemployment has already risen to at least 2.5 million and research showing that those who are already most disadvantaged are the hardest hit, the UK must build the skills it needs for economic recovery while supporting people back to work and ensuring social mobility.

While the technical skills we need are expected to continue changing rapidly, the essential skills businesses have been calling for are likely to remain constant.

Learn more about the Business in the Community Essential Skills campaign

About BITC’s Employment work

Creating meaningful employment is one of the most significant ways that business contributes to the livelihoods of individuals and communities, and is for many the only sustainable route out of poverty.

Read more about BITC’s Employment agenda.

About BITC’s response to COVID-19

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on towns and cities across the UK intensifies, the need to link business support to community need has never been more urgent.

To meet this need we have launched the National Business Response Network. This network will identify community needs across the UK and match them to the right business support. Through BITC’s vast regional and local connections and leaders, we are able to identify national and local community needs. The network then connects businesses who have the resources to help.

Business in the Community is creating a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow