News. People & Skills Projects - 20 September 2021

Advancing and supporting skills and career opportunities

D2N2 brings together employers, skills providers and key local stakeholders to better understand and resolve skills challenges at a local level.

At D2N2, we believe that anyone who wants to work should have the opportunity to do so, therefore our focus is on breaking down those barriers to work people with multiple and complex needs currently face. To do this we encourage businesses to recruit inclusively.

Just as important as our current workforce is our future one. D2N2 works with secondary schools and further education colleges in the shared pursuit of inspiring young people about their future career options and personal potential. We also work with providers to encourage take-up of apprenticeships.

As we drive activities to support our recovery and growth strategy – our key strategic document up to 2030 – we are unlocking the expertise, the creativity and the political backing to ensure we lead a bold new way of bringing together the education and skills, innovation and business support systems to support our people and businesses to thrive.

D2N2 Skills Report

In March 2021, the D2N2 LEP published the D2N2 Skill Report aimed at improving the chances of our people in securing the jobs and careers to which they aspire, a crucial element in driving up their quality of life, and for our businesses to find the skills they need to grow and compete in an increasingly global economy. The report sets out the local strengths and skills needs and how we address we identify and delivers on key priorities.

Enterprise Adviser Network and Career Hubs

Since the national rollout of the Enterprise Adviser Network in 2015, D2N2’s network has grown each year, covering each district area. In 2019, the LEP brought the Career Hub model to 21 schools in North Derbyshire, and in 2021 funding was secured to expand to four Career Hubs covering D2N2.

In the Career Hub model, institutions receive more intensive support from Enterprise Coordinators, to improve their careers and enterprise programmes and to engage with the world of work. Each Hub has a lead institution, and a Hub Lead providing strategic governance. A network of Cornerstone Employers to supports this work strategically at Hub level. A culture of excellent careers and enterprise education will be embedded in all Hub schools and colleges, to continue to improve outcomes for young people across D2N2.

As of September 2021, over 150 schools and colleges are engaged across the four Career Hubs. Over 130 business volunteers are signed up as Enterprise Advisers, helping institutions to bridge the gap between the world of work and education, and around 30 employers are engaged with the Cornerstone network. Work is continuing to develop the Cornerstones Employer network, further establish the Special Educational Needs and Disability Community of Practice and support the ongoing rollout of the Start in D2N2 careers advice online platform.

Capital investment

The LEP has allocated £69.5m of its capital funding to skills projects, across both the Local Growth Fund and the Getting Building Fund. Including match, £162m of funding has been invested through skills. These programmes have delivered 14,500 learning opportunities and led to the creation of 1,600 jobs.

This includes £30 million we allocated to the Nottingham College City Hub development, which represents the LEPs single largest capital investment. The City Hub campus is a landmark building for Nottingham, serving 2000 students per year and providing high-quality college and community facilities.

The City Hub will foster and support links to employers and industry whilst providing industry-standard vocational learning, training facilities, and resources. It will also provide new business and incubation space. The £58 million scheme was opened in 2020, increasing economic growth and delivering a step-change in the skills of the community.

Digital Bootcamps

In 2020, the LEP secured funding for a pilot digital bootcamps programme. Digital bootcamps are high quality intensive training programmes designed to equip adults with Level 3+ digital skills, aligned to employer or sector need. Employers are involved in the codesign and delivery of the programmes. Unemployed participants are guaranteed a job interview at bootcamp completion, while employed participants have clear career progression identified by their employers.

400 individuals participated in the initial programme, of which over half identified as female. 80% completed their level 3+ learning aims. Courses included software development, IT networking, cybersecurity, and data analytics. A small extension was granted to the pilot, and £2m has been awarded to deliver bootcamps for another 900 learners.

Universal Digital Skills Module

As part of wider efforts to foster and encourage greater collaboration among the further education colleges in D2N2, the LEP has worked with them around digital skills provision. A curriculum mapping exercise in 2020 identified that there was a gap in basic digital literacy for students who are not going into the ICT sector. It was agreed that there should be a consistent and collective approach to delivering basic digital competencies.

Through 2020-21 the colleges have worked with a software company to develop a universal digital skills course. The online course takes up to 40 hours, and consists of six modules: one for each of the six headings in the Essential Digital Skills Framework. It also has a diagnostic assessment at the start, which determines which modules the learner needs to complete. All of the colleges have contributed to the system, which has been completed and tested, ready for rollout in September 2021.

This means that all students at D2N2 FE colleges will have the chance to gain the basic digital skills they need.

Redeployment Triage Service

We were one of the first LEP’S to commission and set up a Redeployment Triage Service to match those made jobless because of the Coronavirus outbreak with new work in sectors experiencing a surge in employment such as food retail, distribution, and care sectors – it has been acknowledged as national best practice by Government.

D2N2 facilitated a partnership with DWP, Futures (who manage the National Careers Service locally) and Local Authorities to work together to provide a rapid response service – matching those in redundancy situations to new opportunities and offering additional support where further employability or skills help was required.

By the end of March 2021, although local redundancies have remained low, the service had a strong and collaborative area partnership, working together to help people whatever their circumstances, to retrain, increase their skills levels, or move into growing sectors.

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