A virtual meeting between a delegation from Ingolstadt and a coalition of North East leaders is the latest in a series of partnerships set up by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to share experiences and ideas in a bid to tackle global skills challenges.
Senior representatives from the Ingolstadt Region will meet with members of the North East LEP, CBI, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education, Nexus and New College Durham, following discussions between the North East LEP and the British Embassy in Berlin over the last six months.
Ingolstadt has a similar framework to the North East LEP in terms of determining economic priorities and leading economic growth and job creation within the local area.
Those involved will consider the common challenges facing today’s globalised world, from education and skills, transport and climate change through to energy, digitalisation and the future of industry.
Lucy Winskell, chair of the North East LEP, said: “No single organisation has the answer to the big challenges faced by businesses and society right now. Pooling talent, thinking, experiences and resources is the right way to find solutions to shared issues.
“We’re thrilled to be building what will hopefully be a valuable long-term relationship with Ingolstadt, which like us is home to a thriving automotive industry and has many other commonalities.”
The North East LEP has long been a proponent of shared learning. It led the Gatsby Foundation National Career Benchmarks pilot which was based on research carried out in the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, Finland, Canada and Ireland. The benchmarks have since been adopted as part of the Government’s careers strategy for schools and colleges, resulting in transformational changes to their careers programmes.
Its post-pilot work included providing support to the Barcelona City region and Welsh Government when they began the benchmarks’ implementation process, as well as hosting delegations from Hong Kong keen to learn more.
When the Government published its post-16 skills plan and independent report on technical education, the North East LEP visited Finland to gain a better understanding of its vocational education system and cascade best practice back.
Members of the team have attended Cities of the Future symposiums with delegates from around the world looking at skills for the future and fusion skills. Its involvement with the Ford Next Generation Learning Programme in Nashville has been a particular success.
Michelle Rainbow, the North East LEP’s skills director, said: “We are very much looking forward to meeting our peers from Ingolstadt and exchanging ideas and insight.
“From our involvement in the pioneering Ford Next Generation Learning Programme which is helping transform student attainment through industry links, through to the Gatsby Benchmarks, we have so much to share and know that our fellow leaders will too.”
Jill Gallard CMG, British Ambassador in Berlin, said: “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions at home and abroad in our COP26 presidency year is one of the government’s top priorities, as is the levelling up agenda. I am really pleased to see the North East sharing its experience of creating new jobs manufacturing electric vehicles with Ingolstadt and both sides learning from each other’s best practice on skills and training policies.”
Johannes Kolb, Area Director of Ingolstadt’s Agency for Employment, said: “I am looking forward to the exchange with colleagues from the North East of England. We can compare and learn from our respective labour market and skills policies – both within and outside the automotive sector.”
Jack Stallworthy, Policy Officer for Labour, Education, Health and Social Affairs, said: “It has been a delight to work with the North East LEP and Ingolstadt partners on the exchange. The North East has an exciting story to tell on preparing the workforce for working on electric vehicles.”
While the initial meetings are taking place virtually, it is hoped delegates from the North East will be able to travel to Ingolstadt to see activity in practice when it is safe to travel.
Read more about the North East LEP’s plans for skills, employment, inclusion and progression here.