Home / Skills / Page 5

Universities support North East’s economic recovery: Network-H2

Universities have a vital role to play in helping the North East economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The work being delivered by North East universities is supporting new and existing businesses to innovate and grow, and shaping and supporting a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland and Teesside University are all members of the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group, which was established by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to provide business resilience and ensure a collective response to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the North East economy.

Below is a case study about Durham University’s leading role in a national research project – Network-H2 – to decarbonise transport through hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and technology.

Road, rail, air and marine transport accounts for almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions making it a significant contributor to climate change. Hydrogen offers a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels and can bring significant environmental benefits to transport, society and the wider energy system.

Durham University is leading a national research project to decarbonise transport through hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and technology. Network-H2 brings together international experts from the energy, road, rail, air and marine transport sectors to support the decarbonisation of the whole transport network.

The project is looking at the technological, social, political and economic factors necessary to increase the use of hydrogen as fuel, and knowledge exchange between researchers and industry.

The energy sector has been identified as an area of strategic importance in North East Strategic Economic Plan. It provides huge opportunities to drive and enable regional economic growth, and North East organisations are creating wealth, skills, and jobs in the region by responding to national energy challenges and opportunities.

To find out more about Network-H2, visit www.net-zero-research.co.uk.

Read more about how universities in the region are playing a central role in supporting the region to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more about the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group.

Home / Skills / Page 5

Moving on up: easing the transition from school to work during 2020

Matt Joyce, Regional Lead: North East Ambition at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), talks about the support available for young people who have had to make decisions about their futures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the country went into lockdown just as many young people were beginning to make important decisions about their futures.

For some students who are moving on from school or college and beginning the next stage of their education or starting work, this is a particularly crucial part of the academic year, a time when they will be talking to their school or college careers advisers, and other key staff, in order to decide what’s the best route for them and to get support applying for different opportunities.

That’s why the skills team here at the North East LEP has been working closely with schools and colleges in the region to support them at a time when it’s been difficult to deliver careers guidance in the usual ways.

Together, we wanted to make sure that young people – and also their parents and carers – are equipped with all the information they need to make informed decisions, even when they might not have been able to access the usual face-to-face support from their school.

A new website – jobopportunitiesnortheast.co.uk – now brings together information for young people and their families on the full range of options, from apprenticeships and university to the new T-Level qualifications which are rolling out from this year. In addition, it highlights how they can access further information, advice and guidance – from professionally qualified, trusted sources – if they need it.

It also includes the latest government announcements which affect young people, such as the new Kickstart Scheme, designed to help employers create six-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Our aim is to help young people to realise their career aspirations and also to reduce the number who are at risk of not being in employment, education or training (sometimes referred to as NEET).

The new website also contains the latest job vacancies which have arisen across a range of sectors as a result of COVID-19 – ranging from vacancies with small businesses to new roles with large corporates like Sage UK – and guidance for business owners on workplace safety and adapting to post-pandemic working.

Over the next few months we’ll also be working with employers to see how we can create meaningful ways for students to gain virtual experiences of the workplace when traditional placements and visits to workplaces might be more difficult to arrange than they were pre-COVID. The use of new technology opens up a lot of possibilities and it’s vital that we make sure that links created between education and industry are not lost.

This all ties in with the broader work of the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group, which is leading the region’s economic response to the pandemic, mitigating the impact on the North East economy, and readying the region for recovery.

One area of focus for the group has been keeping people in employment, and that includes looking at the impact of the pandemic on the cohort of young people who are taking their first steps into the world of work.

As well as our work with schools and colleges, we’re talking to employers about the skills they need from their workforce – including new starters who are fresh from education – and how things are changing for businesses as a result of the pandemic.

As ever, it’s the combination of schools, colleges and employers working together which will help each and every young person in our region to achieve their potential and successfully make the transition from education to the world of work – even now, during one of the most difficult years many pupils in our region will have faced.

Visit jobopportunitiesnortheast.co.uk to see the latest information for young people who are moving on from years 11 to 14, as well as job vacancies and guidance for employers.

 

Home / Skills / Page 5

New role for an Analyst at the North East LEP

In conversation with Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership

I’m delighted to share a new and exciting opportunity to join the North East LEP team as an Analyst.

This one-year fixed term role will help the LEP achieve its objective of creating more and better jobs here in the North East.

It’s perfect for someone analytical with the confidence to present and translate data into meaningful messages that will resonate with a wide number of people.

When in post, our new Analyst will regularly update the baseline analysis of the North East economy to inform the work of the LEP and any strategic documents we produce. They will also use toolkits to help us monitor the local economic landscape, including the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

A key part of the job will be working with our excellent Skills team to develop a critical North East Local Skills Report for March 2021. Our new recruit will also update the baseline analysis of the North East skills and labour markets, to inform the work of the Skills Advisory Panel (SAP).

If you’d enjoy working with policy leads, analysts and other key partners across the North East LEP and Central Government to provide analysis and recommendations on the local skills system to feed into the local skills strategy, this could be the role for you.

All new team members are warmly welcomed at the LEP so if this sounds of interest, please find out more here.

Home / Skills / Page 5

Ground-breaking careers pilot inspires primary pupils 

An ambitious programme to establish and raise the standard of careers education in primary schools has made significant progress after just one year.

The Career Benchmarks Primary Pilot is a ground-breaking new project, which will raise the aspirations and broaden the horizons of North East primary school pupils.

An independent audit commissioned by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the EY Foundation has found in its first year of activity, the pilot has achieved its aims of translating and embedding the career benchmarks within primary school settings.

The report found the benchmarks are effective at helping schools to design and deliver career-related learning across all year groups, with schools designing and delivering a range of curricular and extracurricular activities across all key stages.

The pilot is running at 70 primary schools across two academic years (2019/20 and 2020/21) in all seven North East local authorities.

Funded by the North East LEP and the EY Foundation, the pilot aims to translate the eight Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks (GCG BMs) to primary school settings.

The Primary Benchmarks Pilot builds on the success of the LEP’s Good Career Guidance Benchmark Pilot in secondary schools and colleges. This pilot was recognised as transformational and the Government adopted the benchmarks as part of the National Careers Strategy.

Evidence shows that the pilot is making good progress in building the capacity of schools to deliver a consistent, comprehensive, and high-quality career education for all pupils, and that working towards a framework had a strongly positive impact.

Some 72% of schools that responded to the survey say that pupils are now aware of a more diverse range of career options, 81% that pupils better understand the links between what they are studying and future career options, and 89% that pupils are able to talk more about their career plans.

At least one school has fully achieved each of the eight benchmarks. There has been a levelling up during the first year, meaning that success is not linked to a school’s Ofsted rating. Covid-19 has had an impact on the pilot but it has not stopped progress.

Lucy Winskell OBE, Chair of the North East LEP, said: “It is wonderful that so much progress has already been made during the first year of our Career Benchmarks Primary Pilot.

“An effective early careers programme is vital as research has shown by the age of six, young people are beginning to form opinions about what they cannot do. By age 10 young people are beginning to make career limiting decisions, which solidify by age 14.

“The Career Benchmarks Primary Pilot aims to deliver sustainable improvements in the capacity of schools to deliver a consistent, comprehensive, and high-quality career education for all pupils that meet the standards of the benchmarks.

“In turn this should positively impact on student outcomes and school culture and show our young people that there is a world of opportunities available to them and anything is possible.”

Jodie McNally, Head of Young people Services at EY Foundation, said: “I am delighted with the progress made by the Career Benchmarks Primary Pilot. Over the next year, I’m looking forward to seeing further progress, with pilot schools continuing to achieve the Benchmarks. In addition, the development of resources and the creation of a ‘community of learning’, where schools share best practice, will be a great way to help pupils learn more about the world of work.”

Find out more about the Career Benchmarks Primary Pilot.

Home / Skills / Page 5

Changing the narrative around prospects for young people

With the economic impact of COVID-19 hitting the headlines, a new project is underway to mitigate the effect on young people’s career aspirations and mental health. Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, tells us more.

With constant access to news and social media, it would be easy to think that the future looks bleak for young people who are beginning to think about applying for jobs, apprenticeships or further education.

At the click of a button, we can see endless reports and conversation about the impact of COVID-19 on the jobs market and the economy.

We know that many students spend upwards of six hours a day on social media* and one danger of this constant news cycle is that it could have a negative impact on young people’s ambitions and mental health.

While it’s true that we are facing huge challenges, and that many young people’s expectations have been turned on their heads, there is still good news out there and there are still opportunities for young people as they move on from school, college or university and look to the next stage of their lives.

As part of our region-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are beginning a new programme of work, looking at changing the narrative around the prospects for young people today.

While we in no way want to ignore the challenges, we do want to make sure that no one’s aspirations are lowered and that no one is discouraged from pursuing their dream job, apprenticeship, or college or university place. We want to make sure that young people in the North East hear about the support available, and to make sure that their questions, worries and opinions are being heard.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be finding out more about what young people are saying and working with employers to help young people understand the real picture around careers opportunities in our region.

What we already know is that there is optimism amongst young people.

The recent Unifrog report investigating the effect of the pandemic on students’ wellbeing found that, while students reported that the situation has had a clear impact on their education (with one in two saying the pandemic has negatively affected their motivation to study and do well), 70% reported feeling positive or optimistic about the future.

We also know that young people have skills and attributes that employers are looking for. Many are skilled in navigating digital tech and the online world, and many are flexible and can adapt quickly to new situations. This doesn’t just stand them in good stead when it comes to job interviews, but is also a valuable skillset for those who might choose the self-employment route.

During the last recession we saw the emergence of a wave of new businesses, many started by young founders. Promoting entrepreneurialism and letting young people know that self-employment is a viable route open to them is at the forefront of our work with schools and colleges, as we aim to make sure that all pupils in our region have access to top quality careers guidance. Again, we know there are challenges – young business leaders often find it difficult to access finance, for example – but there are start-up loans and financial support out there, and we can help young people to access it.

For those young people who are returning to school or college in September, we want to make sure that careers guidance is a priority and that it helps young people to explore the full range of pathways open to them including self-employment and non-traditional careers.

Working together with schools, colleges and employers, we aim to help young people understand that their skills are valuable, help them to choose the pathway that’s right for them, and help all young people to achieve their ambitions.

Find out more about the North East LEP’s works with schools, colleges and employers at www.northeastambition.co.uk.

*Findings from the Unifrog COVID-19 impact report, investigating the effect of the pandemic on students’ wellbeing and next steps.

Home / Skills / Page 5

Universities key to North East’s economic recovery

Universities from across the region have joined the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, North East and North of Tyne Combined Authorities, the CBI on behalf of business organisations, and the North East Joint Transport Committee, in pledging their support for a new economic recovery plan that will help stabilise, adapt and rebuild the North East economy.

Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland and Teesside University are all members of the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group, which was established by the North East LEP at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to provide business resilience and ensure a collective response to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the North East economy.

The Group has recently published its economic response summary report.

The region’s academic institutions have continued to operate during lockdown, and the work carried out by North East universities is supporting the recovery of the UK economy as a whole and helping businesses in the region adapt to a new way of working.

Professor Jane Robinson, who is Dean of Engagement and Place at Newcastle University, represents the North East LEP region’s four universities (Newcastle/Sunderland/Northumbria/Durham) within the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group.

She said: “The universities will play a central role in supporting the region to recover from the post Covid-19 economic downturn. Universities contribute to the regional economy in a myriad of ways – as employers and educators and by linking our region to the rest of the UK and internationally. Critically at this time, as the source of research and expertise that will help our region not only survive, but thrive, as we enter the economic and social recovery phase of COVID-19. This collaborative approach signals our collective commitment to working in partnership with businesses and our communities to bring this knowledge to bear on the region’s recovery.”

The universities will help support the region’s economic recovery by:

  • Supporting new and existing businesses to innovate and grow, shaping and    supporting a more sustainable and inclusive economy
  • Identifying and meeting future skill needs – re-skilling and up-skilling the workforce
  • Connecting world-leading research and analytic capability to support scenario planning, problem solving and policy making
  • As major employers and ‘anchor institutions’ employing local people, supporting local supply chains, attracting and retaining talent and contributing to the vibrancy, culture and wider well-being of the region.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, (North East LEP), said: “Universities have a vital role to play in helping our region return to pre-coronavirus levels.

“They provide a highly skilled recruitment pipeline which will be essential for innovation businesses in our region. Tech, digital and life sciences are all areas of strategic importance for the North East so delivering a workforce with the skills that industry needs is key for the sectors’ success and the recovery of our economy.

“Knowledge exchange between academia and our region’s business community will help companies innovate and grow. High growth businesses are an essential part of a healthy economy; the expertise and knowledge at our universities can help us create more.

“As well as working extremely hard to deliver a world-class student experience during the coronavirus crisis, universities have a central role to play in our region’s economic recovery too.”

Universities are contributing to the new economic recovery plan in a number of different ways. Durham and Newcastle Universities are part of the N8 Research Partnership, which consists of the eight most research-intensive Universities in the North of England.

The N8 is currently involved in developing opportunities to unlock new business opportunities in the green economy, through the Net Zero North project, contributing to lasting prosperity for the North of England and beyond.  This is being achieved by accelerating the growth of the low carbon goods and services sector in the Northern Powerhouse through university-business-public sector collaboration.

Through the Northern Accelerator, Sunderland, Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham Universities are continuing to accelerate the commercialisation of the North East’s world-class research to help boost the region’s economy.

Northumbria has joined forces with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to launch a major new programme to help North East businesses grow or expand into the health, wellness and social care delivery sectors. The new Purposeful Health Growth Accelerator, will offer practical support, advice and growth capital investment worth more than £1m in total to up to 200 North East firms.

Teesside University’s £22.3 million National Horizons Centre (NHC), which officially opened in October 2019, is a national centre of excellence for bioscience that brings together research, teaching and enterprise. The NHC was established to directly address the potential of the bioeconomy.

Within days of the World Health Organisation declaring a global pandemic, the NHC supplied tens of thousands of pounds of specialist kit and equipment to North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help them scale-up testing for Covid-19.

Other key initiatives led by the region’s universities to support the recovery of the North East’s economy include student and graduate internships in business and targeted enterprise programmes encouraging student startups.

For more information about the North East COVID-19 Response Group and the economic recovery plan visit www.northeastlep.co.uk.

Click here to see examples from Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland and Teesside University showing how they are working with the region to support its economic recovery.

Home / Skills / Page 5

Local Growth Fund grants £954,983 to support Launch of North East Institute of Technology

Following the news today that New College Durham has been awarded a licence to operate as an Institute of Technology (IoT), the North East local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is pleased to announce it will support the IoT with a Local Growth Fund grant of £954,983 for specialist infrastructure and equipment to enable delivery of essential skills for robotics, pneumatics, mechatronics, hybrid electric vehicle manufacturing, service & repair, fabrication and welding.

The IoT will see New College Durham work in partnership with Nissan, Esh Group and Newcastle University to deliver quality higher-level technical training in subjects such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Further education and private training providers also collaborating with the North East Institute of Technology are Sunderland College, Tyne Coast College, East Durham College, Middlesbrough College, and NA College Trust.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive at the North East LEP, said:

“We’re pleased to see that New College Durham has today been awarded their licence to operate as an Institute of Technology (IoT), offering quality higher-level technical pathways for learners in the North East. Funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund have been allocated to support the IoT with the purchase of essential equipment such as industry-grade machinery for students to use.

“As this initiative aims to help to close skills gaps in key STEM areas, and focus on the specific technical skills required to provide employers with the skilled workforce they need, using professional grade equipment which will be found in the workplace is essential and help produce work-ready employees.”

The Local Growth Fund is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.

Institutes of Technology form a key part of the Government’s biggest shake up to technical education in a generation. This includes introducing new T Levels from 2020 – the technical equivalent to A Levels – and more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

You can read more about IoTs here.

Home / Skills / Page 5

Making adult education in the North East fit for the future

As well as delivering benefits to mental health and wellbeing, adult education helps to equip people with the skills they need in the workplace. As new technologies bring changes to job roles, North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Skills Director, Michelle Rainbow, takes a look at how adult education provision in our region can keep pace with the new skills that employers are looking for.

Having a skilled workforce is vital if the North East is to have a bright economic future. And it’s not just about the skills that employers are looking for now. It’s also vital that we’re equipping people with skills that will stand them in good stead as our economy changes – we know that the skills employers looked for in the past are not what they’ll be looking for in five or 10 years’ time, and our adult education provision needs to keep pace with these changes.

Across all sectors of industry we’re seeing jobs change as a result of digitalisation, automation and AI. From a business perspective, adopting new technologies is imperative, but for employees, it can be seen as a risk: do you have the skills employers will be looking for over the next few years? Will your job role change? Are your digital skills up to date?

These questions are relevant to people working in all areas of our economy. For example, in retail, we are likely to see a decrease in the number of people employed on the shop floor in physical retail outlets. However, online roles will increase. Some of the skills needed in these online roles will be the same – customer service and sales, for example – but employees will also need to be up to speed in terms of their digital skills.

Adult education can help people to future-proof their skillsets. It can help people move into new roles, help them to progress within their workplace, and it can also help make sure that they can still be in that role in five or 10 years’ time.

Employer needs are constantly evolving so it’s important that training providers really understand the direction of travel. We need to listen to employers and be responsive, making sure that employers and training providers are working together to shape adult education.

As well as future-proofing the workforce, skills development can drive up productivity – employees with new skills bring knowledge back into businesses, share what they know with other staff, and help businesses to stay competitive.

There are clear benefits for the individual and their quality of life as well. Lifelong learning broadens horizons, it gives people opportunities to progress and it keeps us mentally alert and active.

From a personal perspective I’ve found that lifelong learning – not only through formal learning but also through continuing CPD, attending conferences, subscribing to literature and staying up to date with changes in the sector – keeps me motivated and makes me more confident about my role.

As we continue to create more and better jobs in the North East, the North East LEP will help to shape adult education provision, providing insight into future skills demand and helping training providers to understand what it is that both employers and employees are looking for.

Learning doesn’t stop when we leave formal education. Lifelong learning is about acquiring new knowledge and skills throughout life and we must make sure that this is accessible to everyone.

Find out about the role skills play in the North East Strategic Economic Plan.

 

Home / Skills / Page 5

In conversation with Matt Joyce, Regional Lead – North East Ambition at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, about National Careers Week

Careers education and guidance, and how it is delivered in schools and colleges, has been transformed in recent years.

The introduction of the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks and the closer relationship between industry and education has given young people a better understanding of the world of work and the various pathways open to them, including apprenticeships and traineeships.

Careers education and guidance has become an increasingly important part of school and college curriculums; helping students make more informed decisions about their future lives.

This National Careers Week at the North East LEP, we’re celebrating some of the ways our schools and colleges are putting a focus on careers guidance to improve opportunities for young people and ensure businesses have access to a skilled and talented workforce for the future.

Launched in 2017, North East Ambition builds on the success of the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot in the North East LEP region by supporting every school and college to adopt, implement and achieve the eight benchmarks by the year 2024. We’re currently working with more than 160 schools and colleges as part of the region-wide initiative to help improve outcomes for all young people, regardless of their starting points or backgrounds. This includes helping to support the region’s SEND schools and ensuring employers recognise the value SEND students can bring to their organisations.

Within North East Ambition are a number of programmes designed to improve careers guidance in schools and colleges. The Enterprise Adviser Network, for example, embeds business leaders into secondary schools and colleges to help shape the delivery of careers education. More than 140 business leaders are enrolled on the programme, representing a diverse range of industries key to the North East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan.

Our Education Challenge programme currently works with five secondary schools and one college to support teachers, school leaders and governors to integrate an understanding of the world of work and career opportunities into the curriculum. The North East LEP’s successful partnership with Ford Next Generation Learning has helped bring the workplace and classroom closer together, giving students the chance to work with local employers on real life projects.

All of this work has helped bridge the gap between education and business so our young people are more aware of the career opportunities available across the region, the routes into them, and the skills and expertise employers need.

The North East LEP, working in partnership with EY Foundation, is also leading a pilot programme looking at how the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks can be adapted for a primary setting. Our North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot is designed to build careers aspiration and inspiration from an early age. We’re currently working with 70 primary schools from across the North East LEP region to see if introducing the Benchmarks can help sow the seeds of ambition from an early age. We’re seeing very promising results so far.

National Careers Week is a fantastic opportunity to share some of the amazing work taking place across the North East LEP region to educate and inform young people about the career opportunities available to them so they can all fulfil their potential and enjoy rewarding and successful lives.

Please follow our Twitter account, @northeastlep, or connect with us on LinkedIn, to take part and show your support for National Careers Week.