This week the headlines focus manufacturing growth, new training centres in composites and textiles, Hinkley’s innovation centre, apprenticeships in the hospitality, logistics and creative sectors, opportunities in construction and the chemical industry’s national skills conference. Last week’s newsletter reported on youth unemployment, iRemploy for disabled workers, self-employment and older workers.

2.8 per cent have responded to our user testing survey to date – ideally we would like a 30 per cent response rate. The initial results call for more labour market information, more LEP intelligence and more on industry / sector skills. In this edition, I hope to demonstrate just how responsive we can be. Please take 3 minutes to complete this extremely quick survey.

For small businesses, growth can be a perplexing balancing act – increasing demand for products in line with capacity: ensuring systems, finances and people are in a position to be able to cope can be a complex business. The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) recently published the ‘Guide to Manufacturing Growth Planning’ to support businesses faced with this challenge. UK garment manufacturers are the latest to report skills shortages. To address this, Mulberry has launched a training programme with Bridgewater College, training 300 new employees for its second UK factory, which opened in Bridgewater last year.

Construction work is set to begin on the Hinkley Point C innovation centre in Bridgwater, Somerset County Council has announced. Employers are increasingly focusing on the attitudes of young jobseekers when recruiting new talent in the sector, a recent study has revealed. School leavers are ‘enjoying better job prospects’ in construction according to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). There are signs that the industry is picking up and that means there are more opportunities in construction for school leavers. The Social Mobility Business Compact (SMBC) has been set up by the Deputy Prime Minister in order to increase social mobility, ensuring that all young people have fair and open access to employment opportunities.

The new training facilities in the National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol are approaching completion and will provide unique opportunities for the NCC to offer practical and academic courses across a wide range of composites engineering and manufacturing subjects. The Chemical Industries Association National Skills Conference, organised jointly with NSAPI and Cogent SSC, is a must-attend event for all those who have a responsibility for skills development in the sector.

Travel employers are being invited to help refine apprenticeship standards as part of the industry’s role as an apprenticeship trailblazer. Apprenticeships in the creative industries are also set to change. Enhancements to regional infrastructure are needed to expand on economic growth, according to local business leaders. Peter Hartland, Chief Executive of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, commented: “Businesses in the South West would particularly like to see a real sense of urgency on critically needed and timely infrastructure investments – such as key rail and road transport connectivity.”

Hospitality apprenticeships received a boost this month as the government announced its approval of the trailblazer senior chef – culinary arts and senior chef – production cooking standards.

In focus groups held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the summer, apprentices suggested that one of the things they miss compared with their full-time student friends is the opportunity to connect with other apprentices, to ask questions and share experiences. DWP have set-up a group on Facebook, App Chat, where they can do just that.

…and finally, the latest issue of e-Skills online News Digest is now available, providing a round-up of the IT & Telecoms labour market news from HR and technology trade press for the past week.

I hope you find this information useful.



National Headlines

Identifying how Personal and Social Development provision helps people find and sustain work
A new NIACE project running from August 2014 to March 2015 will identify how personal and social development (PSD) provision supports learners furthest from the labour market to find and sustain employment.

Labour urges technical universities for jobs boost
Labour is calling for technical universities to be created as part of a blueprint for reshaping the higher education system to support a hi-tech, high-income economy.

Why computer science graduates can’t talk themselves into jobs
Maths and science graduates are victims of a dirigiste British education policy that fails both labour market and individual.

Universities and the 2015 election – gulf between big parties widens
Labour is committed to lowering fees, the Tories are eager to let them rise. Next year will be very significant for higher education, says Martin Hall.

HEPI publishes detailed study of removing student number controls in Australia – and what it could mean for England
At the end of 2013, George Osborne announced the end of student number caps. In future, universities will be free to recruit as many students as they want. But it remains unclear how the change will be implemented, how it will be paid for and what it will mean in practice.

People with mental health conditions are being failed by employment support and benefit assessments, reports the IPPR
A new report by IPPR North argues that people with mental health problems, who make up 40 percent of those going through the work capability assessment (WCA) process, are being let down by the system.

Economic Review, August 2014
The preliminary estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) indicated that the UK economy grew by 0.8 per cent in Q2 2014. This is the sixth successive quarter of output growth, contributing to annual growth of 3.1 per cent – the highest rate since Q4 2007.

Higher education needs to refocus for 21st century economy
Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, responds to Shadow Universities Minister Liam Byrne’s comments on reshaping the higher education system.

The links between poverty and ethnicity – a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has explored the links between poverty and ethnicity, offering suggestions as to how poverty may be tackled across all ethnicities.

Report calls value of graduate recruitment campaigns into question
Employers are wasting money on untargeted graduate recruitment campaigns as research has revealed that a fifth of graduates apply for jobs that do not interest them just to secure their first job.

Disabled people in apprenticeships triples in 10 years
The number of disabled people in apprenticeships has more than tripled in the last 10 years.

South West Headlines

Labour Market Profile, South West England, August 2014
A detailed snapshot of the demographics of South West England with respect to: Resident population, Employment and unemployment, Economic inactivity, Employment by occupation, Qualifications, Out-of-work benefits, Jobs (total jobs / employee jobs) and Businesses from ONS.

UK’s construction recovery ‘set to continue’
The UK’s construction industry is expected to continue its recovery from the recession over the coming two years, a new study has indicated.

Falling wages mask booming pay rises in UK construction industry, says Hays
Architects, tradesmen and other professional staff receiving inflation-busting increases because of competition for services.

Pay rises for manufacturing workers as economy recovers, EEF reports
Economic recovery is feeding through into the pay packets of manufacturing employees, according to the latest data from sector organisation EEF.

CBI survey – pace of growth on high street picks up
Retail sales grew strongly in the year to August with the pace of growth expected to accelerate again in the month ahead, according to the CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

Plymouth has highest rate of unemployment in the region
Plymouth has the highest rate of unemployment in the region, according to new figures compiled for the House of Commons.

Skills shortage is ‘tip of iceberg’ apprenticeship boss warns
Mark Boulting, managing director of Plymouth-based Skills Group, believes that the vocational opportunities available to school leavers must be on a par with academic ones to help develop the skills that employers so desperately need.

200 vacancies but not enough young takers in Plymouth says business boss
Serious issues need to be addressed if we are to make inroads into skills shortages and youth unemployment in the UK, it has been claimed.

Bosses highlight uphill struggle faced by the South West to stay competitive
A wealth of young talent is being lost up the M5 and more needs to be done to retain graduates in the South West, business leaders have warned.

South West regional unemployment jumps in quarter
Unemployment in the South West rose sharply by 7.2 per cent from April to June, with 10,000 more people unable to find work.

Jobless rate falls as Westcountry continues to recovery
The Westcountry’s most westerly constituency has seen the biggest regional jobs recovery in the last year as figures emerge showing most parts of the region are enjoying a strong economic upturn.

TUC – The living wage is out of reach for most women working part-time in many parts of Britain
The majority of women working part-time earn less than the living wage in over 50 local authority areas across Britain, according to research published today (Thursday) by the TUC.

Logistics Industry facing a crisis. Shortage of qualified lorry drivers
Dr Ross Moloney discusses the driver shortage the UK faces with BBC Radio Northampton, why people ‘fall into’ logistics and calls for a national strategy to remove the barriers in place to attract young people into the industry.

Third of workforce ‘will struggle beyond 65 in current role’
Research has revealed that employers think that a third of their workforce would struggle to do their current job beyond the traditional retirement age of 65.

City Deal is helping South Devon firms
City Deal is focused on increasing productivity and growth and could see almost £300 million of investment into the region’s marine and advanced manufacturing sectors, creating over 9,000 jobs.

£750,000 Allocated to Help Local Businesses Grow
The Gateway for Growth programme has now awarded £750,000 to businesses in Wiltshire, to help them grow and reach their commercial potential.

Further Education and skills provider outcome data published
Government has published employment and other 19+ learner outcomes for Further Education and skills providers, for the first time.

Challenges must be addressed before extending FE loans
In its response to the government’s consultation on the future development of loans, NIACE argues that there are still major challenges which need to be addressed effectively, before extending FE loans to cover younger adults and Level 2 provision.

Support for further education sector to develop maths teachers of the future
Government launches scheme to help raise maths standards of young people and adults by investing in the teachers of the future.

Funding boost for on-the-job maths teacher training
Joy Mercer, Director of Policy at the Association of Colleges, responds to the announcement from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, about funding for in-service training for maths teachers.

University of Exeter Business School and ACCA offer free business course to people of Devon and Cornwall
A new initiative, due to launch in September, will allow anyone in the South West or anywhere in the world to study business for free at the top ten ranked University of Exeter Business School, thanks to a collaboration between global accountancy body ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and online learning platform FutureLearn.

Funding secured for Big Bang South West 2015 science & technology fair in Exeter
Following the success of the Big Bang Fair in June, Education Business Partnership-South West has secured funding to stage the prestigious science and technology event again in 2015.

Agricultural colleges booming as youngsters from town and country flock to farm jobs
Simon Copp looks at just what makes agriculture such an attractive career choice for today’s youngsters.

Cracking Ideas amongst UK’s young people
Innovative young people from England, Wales and Scotland have been awarded national prizes in the Cracking Ideas 2013-14 competition.

UK Research Publications

Participation rates in higher education – 2006 to 2013
Statistics for participation rates in higher education between the academic years 2006 to 2007 and 2012 to 2013.

National curriculum assessments at key stage 2 in England – 2014
Provisional 2014 key stage 2 results for pupils in schools in England at national, regional and local authority level.

Statistics – Youth Contract official statistics – August 2014
Official statistics on Youth Contract work experience and sector-based work academies up to and including May 2014.

Education Funding Agency – High needs, allocated place numbers
List of allocated high needs place numbers for the 2012 to 2013, 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015 academic years.

Education Funding Agency – e-bulletin, 28 August 2014
Latest information and actions from Education Funding Agency (EFA) for academies, schools, colleges and other post-16 providers.

Newton Fund – building science and innovation capacity in developing countries
Information on what the Newton Fund is and the fund’s partner countries.

A guide to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills
An outline of the work carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

Participation in education and training by local authority
Figures from local authority databases showing the proportion of 16- and 17-year-olds in education and training at the end of March 2014.

Guidance – School experience programme – information for schools
Information for schools offering, or wishing to offer, the School Experience Programme (SEP) to potential applicants to Initial Teacher Training. Contents include information about the programme eligibility, as well as funding and good practice when participating in the programme.

Local Entreprise Partnerships – Latest

Labour Market Profile, South West England, August 2014
A detailed snapshot of the demographics of South West England with respect to: Resident population, Employment and unemployment, Economic inactivity, Employment by occupation, Qualifications, Out-of-work benefits, Jobs (total jobs / employee jobs) and Businesses from ONS.

Regional Labour Market, August 2014

  • Download PDF
  • The employment rate in Great Britain was highest in the South East (76.7%) and lowest in Wales (69.1%).
  • The unemployment rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (9.4%) and lowest in the South East (4.4%).
  • The inactivity rate in Great Britain was highest in Wales (25.7%) and lowest in the East of England (19.3%).
  • The Claimant Count rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (5.0%) and lowest in the South East (1.7%).
  • Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .

Live tables on local government finance
The live tables provide the latest, most useful or most popular data, presented by type and other variables, including by geographical area or as a time series.

Careers guidance for colleges
Meeting the requirement to secure independent careers guidance.

Qualifications – review of employability and study skills qualifications at level 2 and above
Details the review of qualifications to understand how their content supports outcomes such as supporting an adult to enter a particular sector of employment, or progressing to the next level of vocational learning.

SFA – funding in-service maths teacher training in FE
Details of a scheme to support graduate in-service initial maths teacher training in further education, including how to access funding.

24+ advanced learning loans application information – August 2014
Number of applications for 24+ advanced learning loans for the 2013 to 2014 academic year.

Statistics – Rural community broadband fund (RCBF) output indicator
The Rural Community Broadband Fund has allowed communities in hard-to-reach areas to secure funding for projects that will give them the potential to receive superfast broadband (with a minimum speed of 24Mbps), so that they are not disadvantaged. The Fund is now closed to new projects.

Local partnership opportunities with Jobcentre Plus
Partnership opportunities for public and voluntary organisations to help Jobcentre Plus move people off benefits and into employment.

LEADER approach in the RDPE national delivery framework
The LEADER approach (liaison among actors in rural economic development) for Rural Development Programme (RDP) funds.

Research and analysis – Future cities – origins, meanings and uses
Paper, produced by the Future Cities Catapult, reviews the origins, definitions and uses of the phrase ‘future cities’, and related terms like ‘smart cities’ or ‘sustainable cities’. It examines how different communities have interpreted ‘future cities’, including: citizens, governments, corporations and academic institutions. Finally it considers how the way we speak about cities can affect how they are being designed and built.

Sector Skills Publications

National Measurement System – knowledge exchange programme
This programme works to increase the impact of the science outputs across the NMS portfolio.

Consultation outcome – Zero hours employment contracts
The consultation received over 36,000 responses. 83% were in favour of banning exclusivity clauses in zero hours contacts.

Open consultation – Zero hours employment contracts, exclusivity clause ban avoidance
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will ban the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts that do not guarantee any hours. This consultation seeks views on the best way to prevent avoidance of the exclusivity clause ban, including actions that employees can take if they are offered such a contract.

Open consultation – Carter review of initial teacher training (England) – call for evidence
Seeking views from: ITT providers, schools, teachers, professional bodies and individuals interested in teaching about how information, training and choice can be provided more effectively in ITT courses.

Open consultation – Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications, revised directive
The directive has brought in a number of changes which aim to further facilitate the free movement of professionals within the EU.

Open consultation – Special educational needs and disability data descriptors
The individualised learner record (ILR) and school census currently contain inconsistent special educational needs and disability (SEND) data descriptors. DfE is seeking views on proposed amendments to SEND data fields based on the indicators outlined in table 1 of the consultation document.

User engagement and the business population estimates
Informing users of the Business Population estimates of developments to the statistics.

Women on boards 2013 – second annual review
Second annual review showing achievements made in increasing the number of women on FTSE 350 company boards.

Engineering Construction Industry Training Board annual report 2013
Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) report and accounts for the year ended 31 December 2013.


SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
12 November 2014, 14:00-16:00, Taunton Rugby Club, Hyde Park, Hyde Lane, Taunton, Somerset TA2 8BU

12/11/2014 – This session will focus on tacking inequality.

SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
4 November 2014, 16:00-18:00, Unite, Tolpuddle Martyrs House, 238 Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth BH8 8EG

04/11/2014 – This session will focus on public services.

SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
29 October 2014, 16:00-18:00, Unite, No. 1 Pullman Court, Great Western Road, Gloucester GL1 3ND

29/10/2014 – This session will focus on skills for the future.

SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
11 October 2014, 14:00-16:00, Unite, Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol

11/10/2014 – This session will focus on the green economy.

SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
1 October 2014, 16:00-18:00, PCS South West Regional Office Suite III, First Floor, Quintana Gate, Bartholomew Street, Exeter EX4 3BH

01/10/2014 – This session will focus on transport.

SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
17 September 2014, 14:00-16:00, UNISON, Vintry House, Wine Street, Bristol

17/09/2014 – This session will focus on housing.

SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
13 September 2014, 14:30-16:00, Unity Hall, Central Road, Yeovil BA20 11JL

13/09/2014 – This session will focus on migration and population.

SW TUC – A Vision for a South West That Works
2 September, 16:00-18:00, U-Net Learning Centre, Daniels Lane, St Austell, Cornwall PL25 3HG

02/09/2014 – This session will concentrate on jobs, pay and hours.

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

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 combin

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

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 22

Maths and English Conference
19 September 2014, Swindon

19/09/2014 – Targeted at maths and english 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 p

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

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 implicati

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 fundi

Webinar – Engaging with NIACE’s general election manifesto
2 September 2014, online – ref: WEB002A1/0914

02/09/2014 – Webinar participants will hear from NIACE’s CEO, David Hughes, about the manifesto’s bold new proposals following recent reports confirming the urgent need for a skills-led economic recovery; including the 2013 OECD Survey of Adult Skills, the 2014 UKCES

Webinar – Engaging with NIACE’s general election manifesto
17 September 2014, online – ref: WEB002A2/0914

17/09/2014 – Webinar participants will hear from NIACE’s CEO, David Hughes, about the manifesto’s bold new proposals following recent reports confirming the urgent need for a skills-led economic recovery; including the 2013 OECD Survey of Adult Skills, the 2014 UKCES

Cedefop – Skills needs anticipation and matching course
Turin, Italy, 20 – 24 October 2014
Deadline for applications – 15 September 2014

20/10/2014 – 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

CIPD – Devon and Cornwall Branch Conference
1 October 2014, 09:45, Sandy Park Conference Centre, Sandy Park Way, Exeter, EX2 7NN

01/10/2014 – Delegates will be able to enjoy 2 fantastic Key note speakers and select from a menu of 12 mini seminars, workshops and master classes in Employment Law, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Health and Wellbeing and Learning and Development.

NIACE – FELTAG Session 1 – Meeting Learner’s Needs
9 September 2014, online – ref: BIS602A/0714

09/09/2014 – The government’s response to the FELTAG recommendations published on the 16 June confirmed the government’s commitment to the use of technology for learning. However, there are unanswered questions to how the FE and skills sector can meet the FELTAG chall

Motivated or Mandated – engaging adults in learning and supporting them to succeed
20 October 2014, London, UCU Office, Old Bakery, Carlow Street, London NW1 7LH

20/10/2014 – This conference will encourage dialogue between practitioners and researchers in order to explore the ways to motivate adults to engage and succeed in literacy and numeracy learning.

GET THE GRIT – A resilience workshop to develop a ‘growth mindset’ for all – training event
led by Jackie Beere OBE
12 November 2014, Campaign for Learning, 24 Greencoat Place, Westminster, London, SW1P 1RD

12/11/2014 – Raise achievement and improve wellbeing through resilience training with Jackie Beere, who has years of experience in coaching and personal development for children and teachers.

Employer Ownership – Current Position and Future Prospects
with Michael Davis, Chief Executive of UKCES
23 September 2014, Campaign for Learning, 24 Greencoat Place, Westminster, London, SW1P 1RD

23/09/2014 – With the general election less than nine months away, this is an exciting moment discuss where the ’employer ownership of skills’ agenda has reached and what the prospects are for the future.

Grow Gloucestershire – The Skills Show Experience
7 – 8 October 2014, The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse

07/10/2014 – Highlight the exciting career opportunities you have available and get face to face with potential apprentices, trainees and staff. Bring skills to life through inspirational ‘HAVE A GO’ activities. Talk to Gloucestershire’s young people about what it is

The Skills Show, NEC
13 – 15 November 2014, Birmingham NEC

13/11/2014 – FREE to attend, The Skills Show provides young people with opportunities to discover what they are good at and what they enjoy, through hands-on experiences combined with practical advice and guidance, to help shape futures and transform lives.

Women into Leadership, Fifth Annual Conference
17 September 2014, Central London

17/09/2014 – For all those interested in seeing leadership opportunities for women enhanced. Women into Leadership 2014 will examine how female leaders, at whatever grade, can enhance their relevant skills to become the leader they aspire to be. This year’s conference

ESRC’s Festival of Social Science
1-8 November 2014, University of Exeter

01/11/2014 – 11 separate events celebrating social science research and its relevance to many areas of life, from personal wellbeing to the sustainability of the economy.