Regional impact and growth, 20140725

This week the headlines focus on the latest Gross Domestic Product figures, graduates; applications and vacancies, the third round of the Regional Growth Fund and the Regional Impact Team at the University of Exeter. The last edition reported on Local Growth Deals and the impact of the recent Government reshuffle on the skills, employment and growth agenda.

Gross Domestic Product increased by 0.8% percent in Q2 2014, the second consecutive quarter on quarter increase of 0.8%. The Confederation for British Industry director general John Cridland commented: “Our surveys have indicated that growth has been broad-based across sectors. The latest GDP figures show that the service sector performed strongly and manufacturing output continued to rise. While it has been a disappointing quarter for the construction sector, we expect this to pick up, with demand for new housing still high”. Business West welcomed the latest figures as “a shot in the arm for business” but warned more work needed to be done to ensure a sustainable economic recovery. Torbay has the lowest rate of employment in the South West, the latest figures reveal.

A recent survey suggests graduate jobs in the UK have recovered, growing by 17 percent in the past year but many employers are struggling to fill skilled posts, which is unsurprising as applications for university places are up by only 4 percent on last year, with 659,030 submitted by the end of June, according to the admissions service Ucas.

The number of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) supported through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has trebled over the past year to 5,100. The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is encouraging Devon businesses applying to the Regional Growth Fund to make an early start. The West of England LEP also recently announced a third round of its Growth Fund.

The Policy Exchange has released a report; Joined up welfare – the next steps for personalisation, which makes recommendations for strstegic changes to Jobcentre plus delivery model. They suggest separating off the employment arm of Jobcentre Plus which would compete with private providers, leaving a newly branded ‘Citizen Support’ as a one-point access for benefit services, to avoid duplication and inefficiency.

Marchmont is nearing the end of a three-year international research project, which has identified the skills needed both to operate in, and to coach, high-performance teams. The final phase of this work has seen the University collaborating with Business West to test innovative new tools for competence assessment and training materials to build these competencies. The new coach and team competency tools will be available for use in 2015. Visit the project webpage.

The University of Exeter is also working with local schools to explore issues around teacher retention. Teacher drop-out in the first few years of teaching is higher in the UK than almost any other country. The project aims to develop a new course for school managers to help them build more inclusive school environments, and has already been working with five Devon schools to identify the reasons for teacher drop-out. In particular the University is researching methods of peer support between teacher generations. The new material will be trialled in 2015. The project is led by the award winning Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter. Visit the project webpage

For more information about either of these projects, email Dr Andrew Dean or call 01392 264950.

…and finally, congratulations to our Director, Chris Evans, who is now also Head of the Regional Impact Team at the University of Exeter. Chris has had significant experience consulting on the employment and skills aspects of a number of Strategic Economic Plans in the region. Chris has also overseen team collaborations on international projects relating to Higher Education impact including the EU Skills Panorama ‘Achieving Regional and Local Impact’ (ARLI) and DESCRIBE, which seeks to establish a more nuanced appreciation of the impact of Higher Education research.

I hope you find this information useful.



National Headlines

Innovation and the UK’s knowledge economy
Vince Cable talks about creating a successful knowledge-based economy.

School funding
Schools Minister David Laws’ written ministerial statement on school funding.

National Apprenticeship Week 2015
Next year’s National Apprenticeship Week will run from Monday, 9 March to Friday, 13 March 2015.

CIPD – Employers increase level of support for young jobseekers
Employers are beginning to adjust their recruitment practices to make them more youth-friendly a report from the CIPD has said.

Investing for future success of students: HEFCE response to OFFA report
The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) published a report on 2015-16 access agreements today.

‘Flex appeal’ – the benefits of flexible working explored in new report
Working on a temporary basis is part of many people’s career paths. More than one in three people (36%) in Great Britain have worked as a contractor, freelancer or agency worker at some point in their career, and 41% are considering working that way in the future, reports the REC.

TUC – Sanctions regime is failing
“While this report identifies some important areas for improvement, its limited remit means the worst excesses of the current sanctions regime look set to remain in place.” – Frances O’Grady, TUC

Consultation to ensure effective implementation of new GCSEs
BIS and DfE have commissioned NIACE, in partnership with the NRDC, to lead the implementation consultation of the new GCSEs, announced earlier this month by the Government.

Third set of Balance of Competences reports published
The Government has published 11 new reports in its Review of the Balance of EU Competences.

Boost for Remploy Employment Services
Remploy Employment Services will become independent of government so it can expand its business to help even more disabled people into work.

150 job or training placements for disabled people every working day
The Prime Minister hails new figures on the first anniversary of Disability Confident campaign, as over 1,000 British businesses sign up to the campaign.

Government pledges funding to stretch brightest state students
Students on 4 or more A levels or equivalent will continue to receive funding after 2016.

Cedefop – Skills needs anticipation and matching course announced
Cedefop co-organises a training and knowledge-sharing course on skills needs anticipation and matching with the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ITC-ILO), the Skills Development and Employability Unit of the ILO and the European Training Foundation (ETF).

Technology in FE – Tracking Student Progress A Priority
City & Guilds are on a mission to encourage a greater use of technology in the Further Education (FE) sector. Here at Macleod Associates we love technology and have to agree with them. We believe that technology can really help institutions to make the most of their provision.

UCU responds to cabinet reshuffle
UCU today welcomed the new further and higher education ministers and said it was looking forward to discussing the important issues that face them in their new roles.

South West Headlines

Employment & Skills Support Service for SME’s in Swindon
We are pleased to announce that Swindon Borough Council is commissioning an Employment & Skills Support Service for SME’s in Swindon, on behalf of the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

JobCrowd’s Top 100 Companies for Graduates to Work for 2014-15 – Gloucestershire companies best for graduates
Gloucestershire is a great county for graduate recruitment, according to a new survey, The JobCrowd’s Top 100 Companies for Graduates to Work for 2014/15.

UK attracts highest levels of inward investment on record
Foreign investment projects create highest number of new UK jobs since 2001 with 1,627 new jobs in the South West.

Remploy beginning to seek private investment
Remploy Employment Services is now able to seek private investment enabling it to expand.

New Jobcentre plus model proposed by thinktank Policy Exchange
Policy Exchange has released a report outlining suggested changes to Jobcentre plus delivery model.

Solent schoolchildren get hands on at high-flying career day
Hundreds of Solent youngsters learnt about career opportunities in aviation and aerospace at the Farnborough International Airshow today (18 July).

Funding for larger A Level and land-based programmes announced by DfE
“DfE has acknowledged what we’ve known for a while that funding levels for large academic programmes are insufficient. This problem was identified just last week by Professor Nigel Thrift in his letter to DfE about changes to maths and language A Levels and AoC is pleased to see this response from Government” – Julian Gravatt, Assistant Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

Agri-tech winners – PM announces multi-million pound boost for British food industry
Central government will commit to buying fresh, locally sourced and seasonal food to benefit British farmers and small businesses.

International Research Publications

TTIP and the Fifty States – Jobs and Growth from Coast to Coast
Reports on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and its potential impact on the 50 states and 14 key sectors.

Social and employment policy – review of the balance of competences
Examines the balance of competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union in the area of social and employment policy.

Work-based learning handbook
The European Training Foundation (EFT) has developed a handbook to help policy makers and social partners understand some of the ways in which learning in the workplace can be encouraged and how its quality can be improved in ETF partner countries.

Do business tendency surveys help in forecasting employment? A real-time evidence for Switzerland
Investigates the usefulness of business tendency surveys collected at the KOF Swiss Economic Institute and aggregated in the form of the KOF Employment Indicator for short-term forecasting of employment in Switzerland.

The Contribution of Regions to Aggregate Growth in the OECD
Investigates the contribution of regions to aggregate growth in the OECD, finding a great degree of heterogeneity in the performance of OECD TL3 regions and among the OECD regional typology (urban, intermediate and rural).

UK Research Publications

Performance indicators in higher education in the UK 2012 to 2013 – second tranche
Data on employment and further study outcomes of graduates at UK higher education institutions.

Higher education – destinations of UK and other EU domiciled leavers from HE 2012 to 2013
Details of the destinations of UK and other EU domiciled leavers from higher education.

Barriers to learning – serious case reviews
Issues that prevent findings from serious case reviews being used as part of policy and practice.

Evaluating the impact of Universal Credit on the labour market
A research report examining the impact of Universal Credit (UC) on the labour market in live service and the North West expansion.

Work Capability Assessment – evidence based review
Evidence based review examining the performance of the Work Capability Assessment and an alternative assessment for ESA claims.

Youth Unemployment Innovation Fund Pilot – Starts and outcomes
Statistics on the total number of young people that started on the Innovation Fund and the total number of outcomes achieved up to March 2014.

Children’s and Young People’s Reading in 2013
Outlines findings about children’s and young people’s reading from our fourth annual literacy survey, which we conducted in November/December 2013. 29,422 young people aged eight to 16 participated.

Tackling the barriers to leadership – overview and case studies
Explores systemic barriers to leadership with a series of case studies which illustrate the different approaches organisations have taken to understand what leadership their organisation needs and how to align their organisational context to support leaders.

Enterprise for All – The relevance of enterprise in education
The relevance of enterprise in education is Lord Young’s third and final report on enterprise.

DWP employer engagement and experience survey 2013
The research looks at employers’ experiences of working with DWP to help inform changes to policy and improvements to services

Access to Work official statistics – July 2014
Numbers of disabled people helped and numbers continuing to benefit from Access to Work from April 2013 to March 2014.

CANparent trial evaluation – final report
An evaluation of CANparent, a trial of the market potential for high-quality universal parenting classes.

Climbing the ladder – skills for a sustainable recovery
Highlights the need for urgent action to improve the UK’s jobs and skills to build on the economic upturn and maximise growth. Examines the skills challenges facing the UK economy and calls on businesses and organisations which provide education and training to work together to confront these issues.

Higher ambitions – background report
Asks how business leaders perceive the situation, exploring attitudes towards work-based learning and apprenticeships, the current state of both vocational education and apprenticeships. Makes recommendations and proposals for changes to policy and sets out the role of business in shaping and delivering vocational education.

CIPD manifesto for work – a policy programme to champion better work and working lives
With the general election less than a year away, the CIPD has published a ‘Manifesto for Work’ to urge politicians to focus on new ways to future proof UK employment.

Addressing economic inequality at root – 5 goals to a fairer UK
Calls on Government to start addressing economic inequality with two key steps; 1) to set a tangible target to reduce economic inequality, as they have for child poverty, and 2) to establish a high-level commission on economic inequality tasked with devising a broad policy agenda to tackle the drivers of inequality.

Sector Skills Publications

Recruiting and developing talented people for SME growth
Examines different aspects of people management issues in SMEs through 13 case study organisations and how recruitment and talent management challenges and opportunities have been addressed.

Small employer recruitment practices
This qualitative research looks at how small and medium-sized employers select candidates for employment.

Growth dashboard
The growth dashboard summarises important facts and figures on UK growth and industrial policy.

Economic impact of industrial plant closure in the UK – feasibility study
Examining the economic impact of plant closures in the UK. Reviews the available evidence on the short and long term economic impacts of industrial plant closure in the UK with a specific focus on energy intensive industries.

Strategic approaches to employment – Responding to change in the sector
Throughout 2013 the Action Learning Network brought together housing providers to share their experience, knowledge and good practice examples of how they deliver employment support and deal with the impacts of welfare reform.

Rethinking industrial policy design in the UK – foreign ideas and lessons, home-grown programmes and initiatives
Argues that new efforts to design effective industrial policies in the UK need to be informed, not just by foreign examples, but by past experience of what has worked well and what has worked badly in terms of previous industrial policy endeavours in the UK.

The principles of workforce integration
Argues that better use of resources and better outcomes for people who need care and support are predicated upon nurturing the workforce, so that all workers have the confidence, knowledge, capability, motivation and enthusiasm to deliver the very best care and support.

Determinants of the composition of the workforce in low skilled sectors of the UK economy – social care and retail sectors
Develops further understanding of the supply and demand side factors that affect the composition of the low-skilled labour market, with particular reference to the social care and retail sectors.

Green employment initiative – tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy
Outlines the employment challenges and opportunities of the current transition towards a green, low carbon, energy and resource-efficient economy. The Green Employment Initiative Communication presents an integrated framework to allow labour market and skill policies to play an active role to support this transition.

Create UK – creative industries strategy
Outlines the context, recommendations and success measures to ensure the UK’s creative industries remain a success story.

Food and beverage sector – Working conditions and job quality
An overview of working conditions, job quality, workers’ health and job sustainability in the food and beverage service activities sector (NACE 56). It is based mostly on the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), which gathers data on working conditions and the quality of work across 34 European countries.


OECD LEED Programme Expert Seminar – What works, and what doesn’t? Evidence-based approaches to tackling disadvantage
October 2014, OECD Conference Centre, Paris

15/10/2014 – This expert seminar will focus on how countries can establish a policy framework to enable effective local action using an evidence-based approach, choosing between different measures at a time of limited resources. The latest evidence from OECD countries on ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t’ will be considered, with participants sharing their own experiences of what has been successful on the ground.

OECD LEED programme High-Level Capacity Building Seminar – Supporting youth in entrepreneurship
22-23 September 2014, Brussels, Belgium

22/09/2014 – The aim of this High-Level Capacity Building Seminar is have an international exchange of information on inclusive entrepreneurship actions across the European Union and on how the European Union Structural Funds can be used to support actions that combine entrepreneurship promotion and social inclusion. It will examine the how strategies for youth entrepreneurship can be designed and implemented including consideration of the connections with wider strategies for entrepreneurship and youth employment.

Does working-class education have a future?
2 August 2014, 11:00 – 16:00, GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, TA6 5HA

02/08/2014 – The last few generations have seen, overall, both a crisis and decline in the general field of what used to be called working-class education. Despite substantial government Union Learn funding, now of course under severe pressure, and some impressive internal trade union shop steward programmes, the subsidised and ‘liberal’ ‘adult education sector where many of us learned the theory and practice of socialism has almost disappeared. This conference is a ground-breaking attempt to address this crisis, asking these questions amongst many others: would the internet have destroyed adult ‘liberal’ education without any government cuts? Do any trade unions educate their members for socialism or merely effective trades unionism? Can a volunteer/community-led strategy restore cuts to Union Learn and adult evening courses? Cost is £5 per person which includes buffet lunch. Places are limited: please register in advance if possible, make cheques out to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to Dave Chapple, Conference Organiser, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU. Further details phone 07707 869 144 or e-mail Dave Chapple

Skills, Employment and Growth Conference 2014 30th September, 2014, University of Salford
30/09/2014 – This one day conference will provide delegates a timely opportunity to debate whether Government proposals to reform skills and employment programmes will benefit learners, engage more employers and get more people back to work. This important conference will bring together key players from across the employment and skills spectrum, and with its unparalleled networking opportunities and key speakers, this event is one not be missed. Contact Elanor

The Skills Show Experience – Have a Go Exeter
22 October 2014, WestPoint Centre (Devon) Ltd, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, EX5 1DH

22/10/2014 – The SW Employment and Skills Partnership and partners are very excited to formally invite you to The Skills Show Experience Exeter 2014! The Employment and Skills Partnership are organising an event in Exeter in partnership with Devon County Council on 22nd October. We are currently working on a steering group in conjunction with Devon County Council, Careers South West and others regarding this World Skills UK Exeter event, and would be delighted if you could please complete the booking form and register your interest via the following link

Skills for Life Maths and English Conference
19 September 2014, Swindon

19/09/2014 – Targeted at Skills for Life delivery tutors and managers. The aim of the event is to provide participants with a range of tools, resources and best practice which they will be able to take back to their own organisations. Much of the day will be interactive so participants will be expected to do some work! Contact Julia Falaki for further details.

IfL Fellowship Research Programme
17th Oct 2014, Oxford

17/10/2014 – The IfL Fellowship Research Programme is designed to develop individuals’ research and publication skills.

Welfare reform – creating effective local delivery partnerships
20 December 2014, Prospero House, Borough High Street, London SE1

20/12/2014 – This one day conference will provide an early opportunity to consider the updated Local Support Services Framework and will feature examples of best practice in the planning and delivery of services sharing learning from the Local Authority led pilots as well as drawing on the experience of housing associations, and third sector organisations in the delivery of budgeting support, debt advice, and financial inclusion inititatives, local welfare schemes, and digitial inclusion projects.

HEFCE Annual Meeting 2014
16 October 2014, 09:30-13:00, Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

16/10/2014 – The meeting offers an opportunity to learn more about current developments, HEFCE’s role and the challenges facing higher education. Booking for the event will open in August.

TUC Congress 2014
7-10 September 2014, BT Convention Centre, Kings Dock, Liverpool L3 4FP

07/09/2014 – Visitor application forms will be available from May.

Next steps for the Research Excellence Framework
23 April 2015, central London

23/04/2015 – David Sweeney, Director, HEFCE will be speaking at this seminar, which is scheduled to follow publication of this year’s Research Excellence Framework (REF), the system by which the quality of research from UK HEIs is assessed – with significant implications for public funding for universities’ research, for benchmarking, and for academic reputation.

Improving financial stability and efficiency in Higher Education – sustainability, alternative revenue streams and lean ways of working
19 November 2014, central London

19/11/2014 – Steve Egan, Deputy Chief Executive, HEFCE, will be speaking at this event, which will bring out latest thinking on making the Higher Education sector more efficient, and to increase financial stability at a time of considerable changes to university funding – focusing on options and implementation.