Skills and Employment

Why skills and employment matter

The national trends on skills and employment have been talked about a great deal as we move away from the recession:

  • National unemployment is currently falling. However, levels of unemployment are still far higher than they were before the recession.
  • There is much debate around skills provision in the UK. A recent OECD report placed the UK far behind some of our closest competitor nations for skills and education.
  • The recent CBI adult skills survey, published in October 2013, highlighted that 55% of employers are unsatisfied with the quality of the skills of school leavers.

Within the Key Cities Group some areas have higher levels of unemployment than others. Skills needs and business sector composition also vary. A principal challenge faced by all, however, will be the need for skills and labour provision to match the demands of business both now and in the future – for indigenous employers, potential inward investors and emerging technologies.

This need to be fleet of foot requires a different approach to the funding and delivery of skills, from early stage education through to higher education and Continuous Professional Development training in-work.

The role of Key Cities

As medium-sized cities, Key Cities have an important role to play due to our scale and flexibility. We must share the best practice we are already demonstrating in this important area but also offer Government a place to test new ideas of how to further improve skills and employment.

Together we have wide experience and expertise of different sectors and different environments which will be invaluable when developing policy and identifying what works for the future.

We would want to maximize the opportunity to influence the way the Government enables employers, Local Authorities, training providers, careers and job agencies to access and use public skills funding to tailor our solutions at a local level.

Policy approach

Based on a number of well-received reviews and reports aimed at identifying and addressing continuing perceived problems with the operation of the national skills system, Government policy now has a clear direction of travel aimed at directing funding to the individual and the employer and a stronger, more strategic role for LEPs in skills policy.

Key Cities is focused upon working at a city level to ensure that the skills provision:

  • Enables as many people in an area to find employment.
  • Links people with job opportunities.
  • Promotes apprenticeships as a route into the job market.
  • Improves productivity in an area and encourage new businesses and jobs to be created.
  • Engages all employers in providing training to develop their own skills for the future to encourage a growing city.
  • Strengthens and promotes partnership working between schools and employers to improve career advice and enterprise training in areas.

Developing skills and employment opportunities

We need to look at where we can influence national policy makers that can make a difference to skills and employment. These approaches should reflect the new direction of Government policy regarding skills funding to people and businesses. The approaches should also reflect the strength of Key Cities is that our size and diversity provide an excellent test bed for national Government to pilot policy ideas.

Delivering change What Housing Associations can tell us about employment and skills - Paper

The purpose of the paper is to see what lessons can be learned from the way that housing associations have approached skills and employability issues. It aims to put forward a number of case studies that are able to offer good practical examples of how they Key Cities may want to shape their position on skills and employability.