Taking the time to listen to residents, businesses and investors about shaping future strategy is as relevant today in our frenetic 24-hour world as it ever was.
The North East LEP is doing just that, refreshing the region’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), to make sure its focus and goals are attuned to the needs of business in a changing political and economic landscape.
Over the next few weeks, we are inviting companies to have their say on issues they may face in recruiting and retaining the right people with the right skills to do the job they require.
It’s the opportunity for firms across many different sectors to input into the regional skills agenda.
This in turn will help the North East LEP work with training providers to ensure they have the latest information to supply the vocational courses to provide the skilled employees companies need to thrive and grow.
Attracting and keeping workers with the skills to do the job required is an issue that is never far from the forefront of most employers’ minds.
That’s why we’ve put together a ten-minute survey to get employer feedback on the skills gap challenges.
It’s designed to take up as little time as possible to complete. But the information it provides will be invaluable. You can access the survey here.
We’re asking employers where the biggest gaps are within the local workforce, about specific posts they routinely struggle to fill and if the training they need to upskill workers is available in the North East.
We’re looking for data to give us a more detailed picture on the pressures facing all industries – with a particular focus on the region’s ‘smart spec’ areas of subsea/offshore, creative/digital, health and life sciences, automotive and advanced manufacturing, which house world class growth and potential.
The SEP refresh is demonstrating that our region has had a lot of success around level three and four skilled workers, around apprenticeships and higher level apprenticeships.
The rest of the country looks to the North East for transformational change in the skills arena – such as the success of the Gatsby schools benchmarking programme and enterprise advisors pilot embedding business leaders into schools’ skills delivery.
We still though have unique challenges in the North East which require unique solutions. We want to be in a position to have the evidence to help inform future Government policy to ensure the system works for all regional business.
There is still an issue with the skills mix. We have some sectors where there are jobs which need to be urgently filled and some areas where there is oversupply.
The skills debate is now far more sophisticated and we need to identify the gaps in specific sectors to better understand the issues companies face.
The reality is that not every business is feeling the benefit of skills provision. That’s why we need this survey to get much more detailed data on the ground.
For instance, we are starting to see the construction industry coming out of recession but they are suffering from a lack of skilled tradespeople like joiners and bricklayers.
We will feed the survey findings to our college and training provider partners to help them ensure that their delivery plans are producing the courses employers need to target students into the right areas to meet employer demand.
North East LEP Chair.