Businesses will lead on changes to education to produce a workforce with skills for the future

Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce will lead on an ambitious new plan for businesses to work with colleges, universities and education providers to make sure they are provided with employees with the right skills for the future of work.

Skills shortages are regularly highlighted by businesses – making it harder to recruit and keep staff.

The new Government-funded Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) scheme will help combat this issue by putting employers at the heart of how education is shaped in Devon and Somerset, known as the Heart of the South West region.

The aim is to build a stronger, more dynamic partnership between employers and further education providers. It is hoped this will lead to a workforce more responsive to the skills needs of employers in the Devon and Somerset labour market.

The Secretary of State has designated Devon & Plymouth Chamber to lead on the region’s LSIP – and the Chamber will be tasked with bringing employers and education providers together to develop and deliver the Plan.

The Chamber’s LSIP Lead, Helen Hart, said: “LSIPs are an exciting opportunity for the Chamber to bring together employers, training providers and other key stakeholders to identify and articulate the key priorities and changes needed in our skills provision locally.

“This will help to ensure post-16 technical education and training is more closely aligned to local employer and labour market needs in the future.

“A fully collaborative approach will be required to develop a successful LSIP for our area. I am looking forward to engaging with employers of all sizes across the region whilst working alongside our partners in FE to establish some robust recommendations to the Government in May 2023, based on demonstrable evidence.”

Chamber Chief Executive Stuart Elford said: “We look forward to driving this important agenda forward with our partners to ensure the LSIP is fully representative of the needs of our region’s businesses and young people entering employment while ensuring that our FE providers can be truly responsive to their future needs.”

The Chamber is one of 32 Accredited Chambers of Commerce which will lead LSIPs across the country, supported by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Jane Gratton, from the BCC, said: “We are delighted that so many Accredited Chambers have been designated by the Secretary of State. The Chamber Network will use its convening power and deep knowledge of their local economies and communities to develop clear plans to address skills challenges faced by businesses.

“This is an opportunity for employers to shape how their current and future workforce can access the right training to thrive in the modern, more digital and greener workplace.

“More than 10,000 businesses were engaged in the eight Chamber-led trailblazers. Building on this learning and success, we will ensure that planning for local skills is aligned with the job opportunities and growth ambitions of employers. An efficient, network approach will enable the sharing of best practice to boost outcomes for people wherever they live, work and train.”

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