Skills development plays a critical role in providing the opportunities needed for the region’s residents, workforce and businesses to remain competitive and grow, according to our Skills Advisory Panel (SAP), which has published its Solent Skills Action Plan and Local Skills Report.
The Solent Skills Action Plan and Local Skills Report builds on the Local Skills and Labour Market Analysis published in June of last year, and the Economic Recovery Plan, published last Autumn, and sets out the strategic priorities and actions for the area.
We are acutely aware that organisations and individuals continue to face enormous challenges arising from the global pandemic, and adjustments to new trading arrangements with the European Union.
Informed by evidence and extensive consultation, our Skills Advisory Panel (SAP) has themed its approach under four interconnected strategic priorities, which form the basis of a more detailed action plan:
● Awareness and aspirations
● Brokerage: matching supply with demand
● Core sectors and competencies
● Digital Inclusion
A three stage approach has been adopted to reflect short, medium and longer-term programmes of activity over the next five years. It will move from short-term actions to ensure the skills system plays a key role in supporting businesses and communities to restart, restore and recover, to longer term transformational actions. This will place the Solent at the vanguard of approaches to climate change adaptation as it travels along the pathway to Net Zero.
The pandemic has created an economic shock, adversely affecting key sectors such as hospitality, tourism, retail transport, manufacturing and construction. In response, we have set out plans which build on existing initiatives, such as the Solent Apprenticeship Hub. The new plans will simplify the landscape for businesses and individuals, and respond to productivity issues, helping to address skills gaps and help the Solent region build back better.
The report reveals a digital divide at present in the Solent, which we recognise must be addressed at all levels. The LEP will continue to work through its Careers Hub to inspire young people at school and college to study hard, supporting them to develop the employability skills that employers require, and make them aware of the great jobs and future careers here for them in the area.
An employer-led approach informs the direction of travel set out in the Solent Skills Action Plan and Local Skills Report, through innovative schemes such as the Centre for Civil Engineering and the recent submission to Government for an Institute of Technology in Maritime Technology and Engineering. We fully support placing employers firmly in the driving seat and highlight the importance of colleges, and training providers in delivering the skills employers and the economy need.
Chair of the Skills Advisory Panel, and Chief Executive & Principal at HTP Apprenticeship College, Rachael Randall said: “The work of the Solent Skills Advisory Panel has never been more important and whilst it is right we celebrate our achievements in this report, there remains much work to do. It is vitally important that we in the Solent, develop and equip our workforce with the necessary skills to thrive in a knowledge and technology driven world. Our new approach is key to ensuring the region has the resources and support it needs to restart, restore and recover.”
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