Globalisation requires countries to compete, with economically successful countries holding competitive and comparative advantages over other economies. The education and training of a country’s workers is a major factor in determining how well a country’s economy will do. A country’s economy becomes more productive as the proportion of educated workers increases, as educated workers can more efficiently carry out tasks that require critical thinking.
Many people assume education is solely academic, but a country doesn’t need to have an extensive network of colleges or universities to benefit from education, it just needs relevant training. For an economy, education can increase the human capital in the labour force, which increases labour productivity and thus leads to a higher level of output. Education facilitates the transmission of knowledge needed to understand and process new information and to implement new technologies. It can also therefore increase the innovative capacity of the economy, with the knowledge of new technologies, products, and processes promoting growth.
Many countries have a vision to be ‘Internationally Competitive’ with a ‘Diversified Economy’. Sustainable economic development requires substantial investment in human capital. Education raises people’s productivity and creativity, promoting entrepreneurship and technological advances. In addition, it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress. Learning enriches people’s understanding of themselves and world. It improves the quality of their lives and leads to broad social benefits to individuals and society. By improving people’s ability to function as members of their communities, education and training increases social cohesion, reduces crime, and improves income distribution.
A lifelong learning framework encompasses learning throughout the life-cycle, from early childhood through to retirement. Opportunities for learning throughout a lifetime are becoming increasingly critical for countries to be competitive in the knowledge economy. The global knowledge economy is transforming the demands of the labour market throughout the world. It is also placing new demands on citizens, who need more skills and knowledge to be able to function in their day-to-day lives. A lot of learning takes place in the initial stages of a worker starting a new job, but in the knowledge economy, change is so rapid that workers constantly need to acquire new skills. Therefore, corporate spending on training has increased dramatically, as businesses realise that lifelong learning is crucial to preparing workers to compete in the global knowledge economy.
Further educational establishments have continuously faced more cuts and under-funding in comparison to schools. For the year 2015-2016 there was a 24% cut in further education in England. This has had negative implications on both training providers and prospective students.
Financial restraints have meant that some colleges have had to cancel courses and postpone investment plans. The impact has been far worse for smaller educational services, which have faced redundancies and the possibility of being shut down due to lack of funding. Core subjects demanded by employers, such as English and Maths, have suffered a drop of 9.3% compared to the previous year.
The cuts have consequences for individuals that have missed out on qualifications at school, or those who need to update their knowledge to get back into employment. Many level 3 qualifications for the 19-23 age bracket are government funded, whereas those same qualifications for those over 24 are unfunded. Therefore, level 3 may not be an affordable option to those over 24 who wish to up-skill. The government offers 24+ advanced learning loans to help this age group pay for their course, but take-up of these to date has been low.
Government cuts have had an impact on training providers, staff and students, with a declining number of adults returning to education or retraining. Due to tough times, there is a greater need for education and training, which offers both economic and social benefits.
More than 25% of Brits dream of starting their own business, but various influences hold them back. So what is the key to unleashing one’s entrepreneurial spirit?
- Planning – Many people talk about starting a business, but don’t consider how they will put their ideas into action. Plans would need to be made on funding, skills and resources required. A realistic timetable would also need to be drawn up, with targets of what you hope to achieve and by when.
- Time efficiency – Time is an opportunity cost. Time spent watching TV, playing Candy Crush, or going out every night could be better spent elsewhere. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, but maybe limit the hours you socialise, and reduce the time spent on daily leisure activities. Being serious about your business means giving it the priority it deserves.
- Lifestyle Change – Starting a business means rearranging life to fit around your business. This may mean leaving your full time job with the steady pay-cheque, or even moving to another place if it benefits your business. This lifestyle change may also affect your family, especially if you have a young children to support.
- Confidence – Starting a business is a risk, like all risks, it may or may not pay off. But you need to have the self-belief that it will succeed, because if you don’t believe in your own business then you cannot expect other people to.
- Exposure to other Entrepreneurs – Networking and socialising with other like-minded individuals creates a sense of excitement and confidence. This is particularly important if you do not personally know any entrepreneurs, and therefore need the inspiration.
There are many reasons people may feel the need to start budgeting. Whether it’s about wanting to save up for a holiday, pay off debts, or simply balance out outgoings and income. Budgeting is the first step to taking control of finances. Setting up a budget means that you are less likely to end up in debt or get caught out with unexpected costs. This helps to alleviate financial concerns, and give you a piece of mind about your spending habits.
Take a look at the following steps to help you started:
- Calculate your total outgoings – Looking at your household bills, receipts and bank statements you can work out your total spendings.
- Calculate your total income. This can be done by adding your wages with any extra income, from savings, property or investment.
- Subtract your outgoings from your income, making sure that you’re not spending more than you’re earning.
Now that you’ve identified your spending patterns, you can look at how to improve your finances. Spending can be divided into ‘Needs’ and ‘Options’. Needs include food, electricity, rent and everyday living expenses. Optional spendings are those expenses that can be lived without. Examples of optional expenses including cinema tickets, holidays, and restaurant meals. Although it would seem like the easier option to cut out optional expenses, there are savings that can be made from reducing living costs too. This includes saving on water, electricity, food, or even travel if there is an option to cycle/walk to work. The optional expenses do not need to be eliminated all together, but can be reduced, i.e. eating at a restaurant once a week instead of 2-3 times.
When implementing changes, a spending diary can be kept, to track expenses, reflect on progress, and make changes if needed. With effective budgeting you can avoid unnecessary spending, which can build up over time, leaving you with savings that you may not have otherwise had.