Chambers launch mission to put employers at the heart of planning for a workforce skilled for the future

LSIP Chambers

Employers across Devon and Somerset are being invited to take part in the largest ever project of its kind aimed at making sure the skills system produces a workforce that matches their needs.

Businesses and organisations across the two counties are going to be asked what they need from the workforce of the future for the Devon and Somerset Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP).

The aim is to put the views of employers at the heart of skills planning – so education institutions can be confident they are training people with skills that match what employers in the region need.

If you are an employer in Devon or Somerset, share your views with the Devon & Somerset LSIP by completing the short form on the website here.

The Devon and Somerset LSIP is being led by Devon & Plymouth and Somerset Chambers of Commerce, who are working in partnership on the project.

They will work with universities, colleges and training providers to ensure the voice of employers is at the forefront of a skills agenda that meets the needs of the economies of Devon and Somerset.

A series of events and engagement opportunities for early 2023 are being organised by the two Chambers across both counties, with dates and locations being announced in the coming weeks.

Details will be advertised at the dedicated website where employers can also get in touch to find out more information about being involved and sign up for more information.

Helen Hart, project lead for Devon and Somerset LSIP, said: “This is a huge undertaking – both Chambers have been hearing from businesses for many years about how there are not enough of the right sort of skills in the local workforce.

“This is about working with employers and skills providers to readdress that balance. Filling skills gaps is vital for our future prosperity and for giving young people the best chance possible of a successful career in our region.”

The Devon and Somerset LSIP hopes to reach thousands of businesses in the coming months in an unprecedented engagement drive.

Emma Rawlings, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is one of the most important skills projects our two Chambers – working in partnership for the benefit of employers across the two counties – have ever undertaken.

“We have the opportunity to set a new skills agenda with employers’ voices central to its success and I’d urge all employers to take part.”

Together, the two Chambers are the designated Employer Representative Body tasked with developing and delivering the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for Devon and Somerset. Funded by the Department for Education, one of the first steps is understanding why businesses struggle to recruit and which skills are in short supply.

Stuart Elford, Chief Executive of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is not just simply a survey to produce another report about skills. This is about addressing the skills gaps that hold our region back – particularly at a time when businesses are struggling with rising costs and cannot afford to invest in skills themselves.

“They need access to a market ready to work – we need to plan for the future so that when businesses are ready to grow again there’s a workforce ready to meet the demand.”

Employers can find more information about the Local Skills Improvement Plan here.

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