Government to help workers whose jobs are made obsolete

20 August 2019

Workers whose jobs might become obsolete because of automation will receive help in retraining from a new national government scheme. 

According to analysis firm Oxford Economics, up to 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide could be taken on by robots by 2030.

The programme will support workers by helping them find a new career or gain more skills, should their jobs change. It will be trialled initially in Liverpool.

“Technologies like AI and automation are transforming the way we live and work and bringing huge benefits to our economy,” said education secretary Damian Hinds. “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.”

Oxford Economics found that people whose jobs become obsolete because of industrial robots and computer programs are likely to find that comparable roles in the services sector have also been impacted by automation.

On average, each additional robot installed in lower-skilled regions could lead to nearly twice as many job losses as those in higher-skilled regions of the same country. This exacerbates the already growing economic inequality and political polarisation, the company said. Another recent piece of research, conducted by AI firm found that not only do 67% of adults fear AI will result in machines taking people’s jobs, but some fear the technology could ultimately be responsible for the end of humankind.