Last week’s South West Skills Newsletter reported on jobs growth, manufacturing, plugging the utilities skills gap, employer engagement, the growth of home working and a new Eurobarometer for Skills and Qualifications. This week the headlines focus on Lord Adonis Growth Review, STEM skills and growth in the creative industries.

TheCBI has backed Labour’s proposalto rebalance economic growth outside London, calling for the re-empowerment of big cities and county regions to decentralise funding for skills and investment.The plans include a threefold increase in apprenticeships for school-leavers in science, technology, engineering and maths; more than 100 new University Technical Colleges and the creation of a new “Teach Next” organisation for successful career switchers to teach maths and science; the appointment of new directors of enterprise and employment in schools to improve careers advice in schools and advise pupils on apprenticeships and higher education, and; suggest that the boundaries of the current 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) should be redrawn to match local economic identities such as “travel to work areas”.NIACE believes that the announcement of the next phase in the Opposition’s Growth Review, a report published by Lord Adonis on regional economic devolution – should have a greater focus on the importance of skills training for people already in work. The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is reminding businesses applying for funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to start their applications early.

UCU recently welcomed a report from the Royal Society outlining a series of proposals for the future of teaching STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).The Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency – recently (1 July 2014) published its £400 million blueprint to fund growth of British innovation.The Government’s Your Life campaign, which brings together business, educators, civil society and government to show how science and maths leads to exciting, successful careers, helping to boost participation in STEM subjects, has been joined by the McLaren Group.  Science and small business has been given a voice inside government. Professor Timothy Dafforn and Simon Devonshire are to bring their expertise into the heart of Whitehall as entrepreneurs-in-residence.  Government also recently met with the toy industry to discuss how to get girls interested in science and engineering and to better understand customer attitudes around STEM toys. …and for those asking Why STEM? Stephen F. DeAngelis, President and CEO of the cognitive computing firm Enterra Solutions outlines how success starts with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Locally, construction firm BAM has been appointed to build the University of Exeter’s new £50 million research centre. BAM Western region is an accredited national skills academy for construction – the first such appointment in the South West – and will offer apprenticeships on the project.

Jobs in the creative industries have increased by more than 10% in the past two years, according to government research. Employment within the UK creative industries sector has increased five times faster than the national average – with an extra 11,000 jobs in the South West created in the last two years.Vince Cable recently announced £16 million of funding to match industry investment aimed at boosting skills in the creative industries.

…and finally, educational charity Teach First is set to expand into England’s coastal and rural areas, including Weymouth, Bournemouth, and Great Yarmouth, it was announced recently. Government is considering plans to bring returned and former teachers back in to the profession to fill skills gaps… amusingly this has been dubbed ‘teach last’.

I hope you find this information useful.



National Headlines

Maths and English provision in post-16 education
Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock’s written ministerial statement on improving post-16 numeracy and literacy.

AoC responds to ministerial announcement on maths and English
“Colleges are absolutely committed to increasing levels of numeracy and literacy amongst young people in order to improve their employment prospects and life chances.”, said Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges.

Launch of European Tertiary Education Register – a new transparency approach in higher education
The new European Tertiary Education Register (ETER) publishes its first results today, providing easy access to information on universities in 36 countries, including all EU Member States.

Major HEFCE study shows UK university students have become more satisfied over time
The first large-scale analysis of the National Student Survey (NSS) looks at trends in the responses of more than 2 million final-year students over nine years [Note 1]. Overall student satisfaction has increased, but there is considerable variation between subjects of study, and between different student characteristics such as ethnicity.

DWP response to the National Audit Office report on the Work Programme
DWP response to the National Audit Office (NAO) report on the Work Programme.

TUC – The Work Programme is failing the very people it’s meant to help
The UK’s jobs recovery may be well underway, but the government’s work programme is wasting money and failing to help the people who find it the hardest to access work, says the TUC today (Wednesday).

Flexible working rights extended to more than 20 million
From today (30 June 2014) every employee will gain the right to request flexible working, giving a boost to workers and to business.

CIPD – What employers need to know about new flexible working rights
From today, all employees have the right to request to work flexibly after 26 weeks’ service. Previously, only those with children under 17, or 18 if the child was disabled, and certain carers had this right. So what questions are likely to arise when employers start dealing with requests under the new flexible working regime?

TUC – Flexible working change welcome but it’s still too easy to say no
From today (Monday) all employees who’ve been in their jobs for more than half a year have the right to ask their employers if they can work flexibly.

24+ Advanced Learning Loans consultation and supporting events
Registration is now open for events for the FE sector to discuss proposals for an expansion of loans.

TUC – There’s a recovery but it’s not happening in pay
The economy might be growing again, but across the UK real wages are still falling. In the public sector workers across local government, the NHS and the civil service don’t feel they’re about to share in the recovery any time soon, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady told delegates attending Unite’s annual conference in Liverpool recently.

Report on Financing Schools in Europe – Mechanisms, Methods and Criteria in Public Funding published
The report provides a framework for understanding the structure of funding systems and financial flows through various administrative levels.

Building growth – Country-specific recommendations 2014
The European Commission has adopted a series of economic policy recommendations to individual Member States to strengthen the recovery that began a year ago.

Apprenticeship trailblazers continue to gain momentum
Matthew Hancock announces a new range of apprenticeships that will be developed by employers under the Trailblazer scheme.

SMCPC research on attainment of disadvantaged children
Disadvantaged children who start out as high-attainers are overtaken by their better-off peers who were initially average-attainers.

South West Headlines

European Commission outlines measures to maximise job opportunities in the green economy
The European Commission has adopted a Communication outlining the employment challenges and opportunities of the transition towards a green, low carbon, energy and resource-efficient economy.

Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin praises GREEN Skills Centre project at Berkeley
Stroud MP Neil Carmichael welcomed Oliver Letwin MP, Cabinet Minister for Government Policy, to Berkeley on Monday, to see the proposed site for the Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering & Nuclear (GREEN) Skills Centre project.

Major development plan published next week
Members of the public are being given a final opportunity to have a say on the plan that will guide Cheltenham Borough, Tewkesbury Borough and Gloucester City’s economic and housing growth.

South West businesses ramp up recruitment and invest in IT, KPMG survey shows
Years of under investment during the recession has left many businesses in the South West with a skills deficit and ageing IT infrastructure, according to a survey released today by KPMG.

Living and Working in Wiltshire Event 2014
The “Living and Working in Wiltshire and Swindon” event will bring local businesses and the military together in Tidworth this week.

Government approves £7.5 million for Sir Ben Ainslie project to boost Portsmouth
Ministers announce £7.5 million funding to support Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team and their proposal to be based in Portsmouth.

UK Research Publications

Fuller working lives – a framework for action


Conditions of flexibility – securing a more responsive higher education system


Skills for sustainable employment – strategies to tackle youth unemployment

http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC Skills for Sus Employment (5).pdf

Work preferences after 50


Maybe editorial for this one….. Equitable full employment – delivering a jobs recovery for all


Precarious futures? Youth employment in an international context



International Research Publications

Work preferences after 50


OECD regions at a glance 2013


Sector Skills Research Publications

The levers of local economic development

http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/12009/Local economy need to know review.pdf/83075bb6-c74d-4eac-b3da-03d67d715488

STEM education learning report


Advancing local economies for all


Mending the fractured economy – smarter state, better jobs (Final report of the Adonis Review)


Employer perspectives – insight on opportunities, challenges and trends within the cleaning sector in the UK


Employer perspectives – insight on opportunities, challenges and trends within the facilities management sector in the UK


Employer perspectives – insight on opportunities, challenges and trends within the housing sector in the UK


Employer perspectives – insight on opportunities, challenges and trends within the property sector in the UK


Creative industries – focus on employment



Experiments in engagement – research into engagement activities with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds


Sick of being unemployed – the health issues of out of work men and how support services are failing to address them


The condition of Britain – strategies for social renewal


Work that pays – the final report of the Living Wage Commission


Race to the top – the place of ethnic minority groups within the UK workplace


The link between secondary school characteristics and university participation and outcomes


Employer Skills Survey 2013 – Wales slide pack