Collaboration between our region’s education providers, local authorities, Job Centre staff, employers and other stakeholders has kickstarted the move to draw up a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire.
An information campaign and the first in a series of meetings have been well-received and very positive and now the Chambers of Commerce in the region, designated by Government as the Employer Representative Body (ERB) and responsible for delivering the plan, are hoping as many businesses and employers as possible will add their voices to their report, which will identify skills and provision needs across the region.
A meeting on January 31, hosted by Northampton College, saw 44 attendees address some of the key questions, gaining important feedback as the ERB works towards its report – due to be delivered to the Secretary of State by the end of May – detailing the current position and future needs in terms of what the priorities are for employers.
The intention is to identify both the generic issues that affect all businesses, and those that are sector specific.
The LSIP scheme was launched by the Government last year as part of the Skills White Paper to encourage employers to engage effectively with skills providers, local leaders, representative bodies and other stakeholders and enable Further Education (post-16) provision to be more responsive to the needs of employers in local labour markets.
Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Milton Keynes Chamber and Bedfordshire Chamber successfully applied to the Department of Education to be the local ERB for the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).
LSIP Executive Committee Chair Kevin Rogers said:
“The first meeting was useful in setting us on the road of travel. We want the further education sector to get their priorities in place and do that we need the views of employers and business leaders. Our aim is to look at what’s available, and what’s not available, at try to bridge the gap.
“We have a number of face-to-face meetings planned, as well as online events, and an online survey for those who want to share their thoughts but who can’t or don’t want to attend meetings in person. The sessions will cover a range of sectors, from construction and retail through to green, creative and digital skills and it’s vital that businesses have their say.
“The only way we are going to identify what is needed in this region in terms of giving our future workforce the skills employers need is for those employers to tell us what their needs are.
“This stage of the plan is information gathering that will feed directly into the heart of the report and then straight to government, so now is the time to be clear about what our future looks like and be part of something that really makes a difference.”
Events planned for later this month include:
- 6th Mar – Education and childcare
- 6th Mar – Construction
- 13th Mar – Entertainment, music, fashion
- 20th Mar – Financial and Professional
- 21st Mar – Retail
- 21st Mar – Hospitality, tourism, visitor, economy
- 27th Mar – Logistics and Transport
- 28th Mar – Health and Beauty
- 30th Mar – Public Sector
To find out more about how to be a part of forthcoming events, face-to-face and online, visit www.northants-chamber.co.uk/events