A new report from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has highlighted the need for action to make sure everyone has the skills which will allow them to get good jobs, both now and in the future —and how it will also help the region address other issues from climate change to regional inequality.
With just over a year since the UK went into lockdown, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire, further exposing the persistent productivity gap and skills lag in the region and with employment losses more pronounced than many parts of the UK.
The rapidly increasing demand for new technological and digital skills – central to the region’s aspiration for low carbon and inclusive growth and essential to remote working and access to upskilling in our rural communities – were already having unsettling consequences for the local economy before the pandemic.
While the impact of Covid-19 has been uneven with the most significant impacts to service, manufacturing, hospitality and retail, there is clear evidence that recent progress across the region in increasing skills and employment levels may be slowed or reversed without the introduction of effective measures at both a national and local level.
The D2N2 LEP, in its capacity as organiser of the regions Skills Advisory Panel (SAP), has brought together employers, skills providers and key local stakeholders to better understand and resolve these skill mismatches at a local level and make recommendations for change.
Building Back Better
The D2N2 Local Skills Report will be essential to the regions skills recovery to offset these challenges and ‘building back better’. It will require business leaders, educators, and national and regional governments to come together and collaborate to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. The report is a catalyst for action to help those who have been made redundant or at risk of unemployment and support young people and businesses that have been disproportionately affected.
- Government: Provide funding continuity; increase access to reskilling; increase SAPs’ role in skills provision and funding.
- Post-16 Skills Providers: Coordinate with our priorities; build collaborative skills pathways; embed digital and low carbon skills in all learning pathways.
- Schools: Provide senior support of Careers activity; promote higher technical skills pathways; embed careers inspiration and core digital skills in the curriculum.
- Local Authorities: Support our strategy in your areas; continue collaborating with us and each other; facilitate relationships between local employers and schools.
- Employers and BROs: Make skills core to recovery and growth planning; engage with the skills system to develop the future workforce; support your workers in retraining, reskilling and upskilling.
Professor Shearer West CBE, Chair of the D2N2 People and Skills Board, said: “This report showcases the work of D2N2 in People and Skills, by providing an overview of our strategy and an assessment of progress to date. As SAP Chair, I feel it is vital to ensure that our growing knowledge of trends and challenges affecting jobs and skills in D2N2 reaches the widest possible audience. This will help us drive necessary change both locally and nationally, as well as providing the leadership and focus for strategic responses with genuine impact. I would like to thank our colleagues at the University of Derby, who partnered with the D2N2 LEP on the development of this report, as well as all the partners in the D2N2 area who have contributed to it.”
Rachel Quinn, Head of People of Skills at D2N2 LEP, said: “This report’s aim is simple, to help improve 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. Our report set out the local strengths and skills needs and how the SAP proposes its area addresses its key priorities, identifies, and delivers on its priorities.
“The DfE’s recent White Paper set out a number of reforms aimed at putting employers more firmly at the heart of the skills system. As we develop our local response to the White Paper, our SAP and our Local Skills Report will be vital for coordinating the region’s skills response as our economy recovers.”
The Department of Education’s (DfE) requires all LEPs and Combined authorities to produce a Local Skills Report by 31st March 21. The reports support governments aim of ensuring local colleges and other skills providers are firmly linked to local business needs and the vision for ‘upskilling, reskilling and retraining. The Reports aim to influence local partners and feed intelligence to the central government, including the national level Skills and Productivity Board (SPB). They are to be updated on an annual basis with a fuller refresh every two years.