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UK launches retraining scheme to help workers afflicted by automation

A retraining scheme for adults has been launched by the Government to help people affected by the impact of automation on employment.

Research from Deloitte has found that up to 35 per cent of jobs in the UK are at high risk of automation in the next 10 to 20 years. These jobs could change significantly in nature or demand for them may drop.

The new scheme is designed to support people already in work to move into better jobs, encouraging them to “develop their flexibility and resilience in the world of work, so they can take advantage of new opportunities”.

The scheme will be trialled in Liverpool before being rolled out across England.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Technologies like AI and automation are transforming the way we live and work and bringing huge benefits to our economy, but it also means that jobs are evolving and some roles will soon become a thing of the past.

“The National Retraining Scheme will be pivotal in helping adults across the country whose jobs are at risk of changing to gain new skills and get on the path to a new, more rewarding career.

“This is a big and complex challenge, which is why we are starting small, learning as we go, and releasing each part of the scheme only when it’s ready to benefit its users.”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Trades Union Congress (TUC) are backing the initiative as a way of boosting productivity, pay and workers’ skills.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “As new technologies disrupt our existing economic model, creating new types of jobs but making others obsolete, it makes perfect sense to give people the opportunity to retrain for the employment opportunities of the future.”

Dr Emily Andrews of the Centre for Ageing Better commented: “A new initiative on retraining is great news, but automation is just one of the major changes reshaping our workforce.

“The proportion of workers over age 50 is growing, and older workers often tell us they don’t get the same learning or training opportunities as their younger colleagues.

“Older workers who lose their jobs due to automation are particularly vulnerable.”

Last year, a report found that some of the most deprived towns in the north of England and the Midlands will be hit hardest by an influx of robots being used to carry out skilled and semi-skilled jobs.

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