Jersey's prosperity ultimately depends on two things: firstly, the number of people employed and secondly, the value of what those workers produce. Therefore, raising productivity – the average value that each worker produces – is critical to securing prosperity for current and future generations of islanders. There is a growing body of research demonstrating the link between investment in skills and positive outcomes for the economy – particularly through rising productivity – and benefits for individuals and organisations. For example, studies have shown:
- A 1 per cent rise in the share of the workforce with a university education raise the level of productivity by 0.2 to 0.5 percent in the long-run
- Each apprenticeship generates an estimated £38,000 to the economy in the long-term. Furthermore, the existence of 'home grown talent' where the firm is able to create the skilled workers it needs, reduces skills shortages and gaps that it would otherwise have to fill through other means
- Productivity of a trained worker is, on average, 23% higher than an untrained worker and that wages for those receiving training increase by 12%.
- Higher qualifications are linked to higher lifetime earnings, with an undergraduate degree generating an 'earning premium' of £108,000, compared to 2 or more A Levels.
- Higher levels of qualification are associated with higher levels of labour market participation; In the UK, more than 90% of 25 to 49 year olds with a higher education were active within the labour market compared to 57% of those without qualifications.
- A higher proportion of 16-24 year olds without any qualifications were NEET (25%) than the proportion of those qualified to GCSE level and above (10%).
- Higher levels of education are associated with improved mental health. One UK study estimated that educating women with no qualifications to at least a Level 2 could reduce their risk of depression at age 42 by 4 percentage points, potentially saving the NHS £200 million.
- Individuals with low or no qualifications are more likely to be persistent offenders and in the case of men, the better qualified they are the less likely they are to commit crime. In the UK, a 1% point increase in the working age population with qualifications equivalent to Level 2 could reduce the cost of crime by up to £320 million per year.
- Raising workforce skills could reduce levels of child poverty.
Furthermore, research has found a positive relationship between the number of employer contacts (such as career talks or work experience) that a young person experienced in school (between the ages of 14 and 19) and their confidence in progressing their career goals, the likelihood that they enter sustained education, training or employment destinations and their earnings.