With the UK employment skills shortage extending across over 30 domains, according to the Government’s own figures, colleges and other institutions have a critical role to play in identifying where skills fall short and what needs to be done about it.The Local Skills Improvement Plan we are now developing makes this progress possible, so here’s what you need to know about how we’ll be involving local employers in it.
What is an LSIP, and how does it benefit employers and businesses?
The LSIP programme is a Government-led scheme to give employers a stronger voice in articulating the future skills need to FE providers, and to ensure changes are made to help people develop the skills they require to get good jobs and enhance their prospects.
At Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, we have played a key role in the development of the LSIP in our region, in conjunction with the Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire Chambers, and will commence its rollout in November of this year.
We’ll be working with many different local establishments that deliver post-16 technical education - including FE Colleges, Sixth Form Colleges, Higher Education Institutions, independent training providers, and other designated institutions – as well as with businesses and employers, and other stakeholders such as local enterprise partnerships and local authorities.
How will our LSIP engage with employers?
The first stage in the process will start with a detailed research exercise - including online surveys, employer-focused and group roundtable events, telephone calls and one-to-one meetings – to capture businesses’ views on the greatest imperatives and opportunities for improvement, and ensure we get traction quickest where it’s needed most.
Our development of the LSIP will then follow a clear, three-stage process, comprising:
- Articulating employers’ skills needs – what are the skills employers need locally, but struggle to find? We will place special emphasis who struggle most to get their voices heard by, and engage effectively with, education and training providers.
- Translating employer needs into changes in provision - how can those needs best be met by providers in more responsive ways? New modules, or new courses? Changes in what is taught, or how it is taught? How can accessibility, flexibility, refresher training and upskilling be combined with thoroughness and rigour?
- Addressing learner demand and employer engagement – what can local stakeholders and employers do to raise demand for and make better use of those skills, particularly when they are new or nascent (e.g. sustainability, digitalisation, net zero, etc.)?
What are the LSIP’s outputs and outcomes?
The LSIP will take the form of a strategic but concise document - no more than 30 pages in total - setting out the priority changes needed to make post-16 technical education and training more responsive to the skills needs in our region, and defining how and when these changes will be organised, managed, and achieved.
Crucially, the LSIP is not theory: it is a solid plan for action that can only be published when it has been scrutinised and approved by the Secretary of State.
For more information on how Bedfordshire Chamber’s involvement with the LSIP programme can nurture the employee skills your business needs now and in the future, visit www.chamber-business.com, or call us on (01582) 522448.