House of Lords Speeches and Debates
Information about debate contributions made by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya. Further information about the House of Lords can be found at the Hansard Report for UK Parliament.
28 January 2016
We must change the ways we teach skills to fit how companies work today. For example, at WMG we are partners with the Jaguar Land Rover Academy, which invests a more than £150 million a year on lifelong learning for every employee. Courses range from day release to full-time postgraduate degrees. They are run at different times, at varying intensities and in a wide range of locations. To make this work, at WMG we ensure all academy courses at every level are university approved, that progression between levels is seamless and that the skills offered match business needs. This is an innovative model of adult education making the boundary between work and learning permeable so that employees learn what is really useful in their career.
14 January 2016
Two years ago, I was treated for pneumonia at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, a fantastic new hospital led by an outstanding former nurse, Dame Julie Moore. The care I received was immaculate, and I understood then why the NHS is sometimes called our other national religion. However, I see it as our national science. After all, it is the subject of many experiments and is constantly being tested.
One current test is higher care standards, which requires more medical staff on wards. As a result, agency staff costs have soared. Monitor expects the bill to be over £4 billion this year, blaming a fundamental mismatch between supply and demand for medical staff. A lot of companies have made very good profit exploiting this, and it is rather ironic Ministers are now proposing a cap on rising bills as the answer. The truth is that, whether in energy or agencies, price caps are a short-term fix. The solution is to increase supply.
10 December 2015
We know that pressure is growing for carers. Since the turn of the century, 1 million more people have become unpaid carers. The number of carers doing 20 hours of unpaid work each week is up by over a third. The LSE estimates that a third of a million carers have left the workforce altogether. We know that the burden of care is falling on our health service. Cancellations of urgent operations in the NHS have almost doubled in just two years. The reason? Patients cannot leave hospital if there is no care at home. Just last week NICE told hospitals to appoint a discharge co-ordinator to try to get patients out of NHS beds. That is money being spent in the NHS to deal with the care cuts.
15 October 2015
Today, trailblazer employer groups are setting new apprenticeship standards. However, progress is slow, with only 54 agreed. When new standards are agreed, there will still be much poor training and some bad employers out there. Ofsted is excellent, but its last annual report showed that it inspected just 16 employers and 40 independent learning providers that taught apprentices. It cannot monitor thousands of employers and hundreds of vocations. In Germany, the dual system relies on the chambers of commerce supervising training, assessing quality, and setting exams. In Britain, there is no such established industrial partnership driving quality. There is no clarity on how standards will be monitored or inspected in the future. We must create the capability in industry to drive up quality in the workplace.
10 September 2015
Increasing innovation spend requires more work than a tax cut. On infrastructure, it is easier to review than to decide. We need an infrastructure commission to get projects agreed, as Sir John Armitt has proposed. While we must demand business investment in skills, it would be a mistake to cut FE spending before they do.
21 July 2015
If businesses benefit from reduced corporation tax, they should contribute to improving productivity. Industry should help to design the levy but it must not be delayed or watered down. A target of 3 million apprenticeships has been set. Without the levy, only cheap, low-skill apprenticeships would be offered, as is happening now. This means that the funding from the apprenticeship levy is essential to transforming technical education in Britain. The Government should set out the detail of their plans and how they will be delivered.
05 March 2015
How can we do better? First, we must offer all young people the chance to advance their careers while still at school, not just those destined for higher education. This requires a greater variety of educational provision, which could be delivered through vocational courses, specialist schools, university technical colleges or even by industrial partners—provision by industrial partners is growing.
22 January 2015
Infrastructure assessments would create a better understanding of future needs and lead to stronger medium-term plans under departmental leadership. Ministers would have greater certainty about resources as their party would have been consulted on priorities from the beginning. Now Ministers only have a choice between the plans of their predecessors and further delay. With improved advance planning, Ministers could better set priorities and choose which projects should go ahead.
23 October 2014
To offer quality apprenticeships, smaller businesses need support to impart quality skills, with a curriculum that they own and help deliver. We therefore need to improve the skills provision of FE colleges and their reputation with local businesses. This is essential if we are to deliver courses that employers will value, pay for and send their young workers from the factory floor to college to complete.
10 June 2014
The total number of apprentices matters little, but the quality of skills training each apprentice receives matters a great deal. The truth is that this can vary widely. Young people know this, which is why the best apprenticeships are massively over- subscribed. To improve our skill base, we need better vocational and technical education for school and college leavers and a better integration—that is very important—of higher and technical education, even if that means a smaller overall total of apprenticeships.
16 January 2014
British business has invested in the automotive sector to create innovative products, skilled people and efficient processes. That sector was in the dumps five years ago but, as a result of that investment, it is succeeding in the global market. Our challenge is to increase the number of industries where this is happening and to spread growth down the supply chain. This will take time and it is a task for many Governments, not just the current one, but the prize is surely worth the effort.
18 July 2013
Governments can never guarantee, or even predict, disruptive innovation. Instead, they should focus on incremental change, supporting infrastructure and innovation, thus creating a framework in which innovators prosper. This means better understanding of what government does well and where it must do better. In this spirit I propose a practical change to encourage the effectiveness of growth policy. It is simply that we commit to a higher standard of evaluation of public policies to support growth.
11 July 2013
Many of our health career structures and much of our training still seem stuck in the 19th century. From care assistants to consultants, from matrons to health technologists, we need to rethink career development in the health service totally. Even our definition of what a doctor is will have to change in the future.
16 May 2013
I want our Government to take a practical, long-term approach to creating growth. One way that can be done is by supporting reshoring, which when I put it in plain English means bringing back the jobs that left Britain due to globalisation and cheap labour overseas. In both manufacturing and services, rising wages abroad and technological innovation at home could mean that these jobs come back, and we should make such a return our priority.