Human capital and education are at the centre of a knowledge economy. More than ever, our level of education and skills will determine future social cohesion, prosperity and sustainability. Skills affect people’s lives and economic and social development in many ways.

Skills improve labour market outcomes both in terms of employment rates and earnings. But the positive role of skills extends beyond its impact on career prospects: adults with low levels of foundation skills have a higher likelihood of reporting poor health and participate much less in community groups and organisations; and adults with high levels of foundation skills are much more likely to feel that they have a voice that can make a difference in social and political life.

The book provides a number of different perspectives related to the demand for labour and skills resulting from rapid technological change and the capacity of the supply-side to keep pace. Over the long-run the supply side is usually able to respond, but often the policy imperative is to deal with matters over the short-to medium-term. The book here provides food for thought in this regard and illuminating insights that might yet stimulate innovative policy solutions at supra-national, national or local levels with respect to how the labour market can effectively respond to rapid technological change in way that is socially inclusive.