Archives for posts with tag: Skills Shortages

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This week: NIACE and CESI team up on Innovation Code, latest on Growth Deals, Exeter Science Park, skills shortages, Working Futures labour market projections by sector for South West England and the ‘You’re Hired!’ employability competition. Last  week we looked at SME Growth and the Long-Term Economic Plan for South West England, focussing on Jobs, Tourism, Transport and Defence.

A new strategic alliance for learning, skills and employment has been struck between the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI), who announced details of the new strategy on Monday the 2nd of February.  The Innovation Code – which allows providers to develop a qualification while delivering the course – is increasing employer engagement in the skills system and helps providers be more responsive to the needs of both employers and learners.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister visited the Heart of the South West recently, announcing £455 million of investment for the Heart of the South West. The Local Enterprise Partnership welcomed Government’s Growth Deal announcement. The Prime Minister has announced a major boost to Exeter’s cutting-edge weather and climate research, with a £10million cash injection for the Exeter Science Park.  A welcome boost as Devon and Cornwall continue to struggle with low job applicant numbers as wages continue to rise more slowly than in the rest of the country, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from  Westcountry employers have vowed to expand their workforce and create more permanent jobs despite a skills time bombing ticking in certain sectors.

Data workbooks from the UKCES Working Futures programme have recently been updated, providing labour market projections by industry sector for both the South West of England and England from 2012 to 2022.

The recently launched You’re Hired! year 12 employability competition was established and delivered by a number of Plymouth businesses who are well on their way to finding “Plymouth’s Most Employable 17-year-old” for 2015.

…and finally, this will be my last newsletter for Marchmont – at least for a while – as I’m moving on to explore pastures new. For anyone who wishes to stay in touch in the interim, my details are:   Twitter: @my1stmonkey   LinkedIn:   WordPress:

I hope you find this information useful.



“Strategic planning is worthless – unless there is first a strategic vision”

John Naisbitt


Further Education

Prime Minister’s announcement ‘desperately disappointing’ for colleges
Martin Doel Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC) responds to the Conservative Party’s announcement to protect the schools budget.

‘Teenage drop-outs failed by poor careers advice’
Too many teenagers in England are dropping out of school or college or failing to pass their courses, because of poor advice, say councillors.

Get familiar with European education policies through the School Education Gateway
A new website, the School Education Gateway, shall provide clear information on education initiatives across Europe. The website is aimed primarily at teachers and school staff, as well as education sector experts and organisations.

Government launches 750 apprenticeships for talented young people
The government has nearly quadrupled the number of Civil Service apprenticeships for talented young people across the UK.

MP visits science students after plea for support
Students have welcomed a visit from South Swindon MP Robert Buckland to talk about the work of the Science Learning Partnership.

Higher Education

New HEPI book – ‘What Do I Get?’ – Ten essays on student fees, student engagement and student choice
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) is publishing its first book – ‘What do I get?’ – Ten essays on student fees, student engagement and student choice.

HECSU – New research fund for careers staff
The Higher Education Careers Support Unit (HECSU) are offering a £50,000 Research Fund to support the research interests of careers staff in HECSU member institutions. The funding is available exclusively to projects led by staff at universities that are HECSU members, with up to £5,000 available for each individual project.

Swindon’s teenagers less likely to go on to higher education
Only 520 more teens in the South West have applied to go to University this year than last, according to the latest figures.

Government outlines higher education funding priorities for 2015 to 2016
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has issued its annual Grant Letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Funding for higher education in England for 2015-16 – HEFCE grant letter from BIS
The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Minister for Universities and Science have today confirmed funding allocations to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for financial year 2015-16.

Sector Skills

Private sector employment indicator – August to October 2014
Quarterly indicator monitoring the private sector employment growth over time, up to October 2014.

ONS to measure UK ‘green economy’
How many UK businesses are involved in the production of low carbon and renewable energy and how much does the sector contribute to the economy as a whole? The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is launching a major new survey that will assess the value of the ‘green economy’.

Hinkley Point £128m community fund ‘not new money’ fear
Sedgemoor District Council has raised concerns of how a £128m community fund linked to Hinkley Point’s planned power station will be funded by government.

Aerospace skills partnership takes off
Skills specialist Semta is flying high after joining forces with industry giants to deliver a £100 million boost for the UK aerospace sector announced by the Government.

£100 million to propel future of aerospace industry
Six projects will share £80 million for aerospace research to help deliver growth and innovation in key areas of technology.

Air Tightness and Effective Moisture Management – fully subsidised training
The Built Environment Sustainability Training (BEST) is offering flexible, fully subsidised training to develop knowledge and skills in the latest sustainability practices for the existing Built Environment workforce of Wales.

Tech Nation – Prime Minister and Chancellor welcome launch
The Prime Minister and Chancellor welcomed the launch of Tech Nation, the first comprehensive analysis of the UK’s digital technology ‘clusters’.

How creative reward can drive innovation
Innovation certainly does lurk beyond the c-suite, as Grace Lewis pointed out in her recent PM opinion piece.

From traditional trades to creative careers
How can young people apply traditional trade skills to the creative industries? We’ve been working with our education partners and industry practitioners to help students find out through a series of workshops.

Growth & Trade

Economic review – February 2015
The key economic stories from National Statistics produced over the latest month, painting a coherent picture of the UK economic performance using recent economic data.

HoSW LEP Funding Update
The recent announcement of £65.2m Growth Deal funding enables specific projects approved by Government to be delivered in this latest successful bid.

£500m investment secured to drive growth in the Solent
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has agreed an expansion to its Growth Deal with the Government which will see an extra £27.1m invested in the Solent area between 2016 and 2021.

“Meet a Mentor” events for female entrepreneurs
Business mentoring for female business owners across the country.

Bristol gets £18m for Engine Shed 2, business broadband and 3 traffic-busting schemes
The Government is giving another £18 million to Bristol to build a new business centre, fund better broadband for companies and tackle congestion at three pinch points.


Benefit and tax credit expenditure growth from 1951 to 2015
Real terms growth in benefit and tax credit expenditure during each Parliament from 1951 to 2015.

Quarter of UK workforce receive insufficient training and development
A lack of training and development for the UK’s workforce is a “significant concern” for the future of business, experts have warned, after research revealed that 25 per cent of UK employees believe they receive insufficient support from their employers.

CIPD – Leading a team is not a long-term ambition for Gen Y
A mismatch between what employers think younger workers want from a job and what is actually most important to them could mean a critical shortage of managers in ten years’ time, research has revealed.

Webinars, e-learning, emails and videos on employing people
Help and support from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about being an employer.

Trade Unions

TUC – Young people must register to vote for job security and better pay
New analysis published by the TUC today (Thursday) to coincide with National Voter Registration Day reveals that young people – who are currently the least likely to vote – are getting an especially rough deal on pay and job security.

UK Research Publications

Career guidance in unstable times – linking economic, social and individual benefits
Illustrates – by means of case study summaries – the economic, social and individual benefits of career guidance in difficult economic times.

Employment regulation and the labour market
How does the UK’s employment rights framework affect labour market outcomes, and how does the UK compare with other countries?

The IFS Green Budget pre-release chapter – earnings since the recession
Argues that although employment for 16- to 64-year-olds is back to its 2008 Q1 rate, average earnings remain well below their pre-crisis level. That weak productivity has underpinned both of these features of the labour market. Concludes that the falls in both measures of annual real earnings growth since before the crisis are of a similar magnitude, therefore the drop in overall earnings is not driven only by people starting a new job.

Workplace trends of 2015 – what they mean for you
Expert commentary addressing five of the key workplace trends in 2015 and what you need to know about how they will develop throughout the year. 1) What will employment relations teach us about building skills and improving productivity in the workplace? 2) What part will a typical contracts play in the future of working life? 3) Will conflict be better managed informally in the workplace? 4) What role will social platforms play in promoting employee voice? …and 5) Will flexible forms of working be the answer to work-life balance?

Employment and the circular economy – job creation in a more resource efficient Britain
Shows that existing environmental and economic challenges are linked. Argues that improving resource efficiency presents a valuable contribution to improving Britain’s labour market situation.

Cities outlook 2015
The Centre for Cities annual health check of the largest cities and towns asks: how has policy impacted on UK city performance over the last 10 years?

Talent Match case study theme report – partnership working and development
Argues that the success of the Talent Match Programme will largely depend on its ability to facilitate effective partnership working. Consequently, partnership theme-based research was conducted in the Greater Manchester; Leicester & Leicestershire and Sheffield City Region partnerships.

Local Enterprise Partnership – Intelligence


UK Labour Market, January 2015

Key Points for September to November 2014

  • Download PDF
  • Comparing the estimates for September to November 2014 with those for June to August 2014, employment continued to rise and unemployment continued to fall. These changes maintain the general direction of movement since late 2011/early 2012.
  • There were 30.80 million people in work. This was 37,000 more than for June to August 2014, the smallest quarterly increase since March to May 2013. Comparing September to November 2014 with a year earlier, there were 512,000 more people in work.
  • The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate), was 73.0%, unchanged from June to August 2014 but higher than for a year earlier (72.0%).
  • There were 1.91 million unemployed people. This was 58,000 fewer than for June to August 2014, the smallest quarterly fall since July to September 2013. Comparing September to November 2014 with a year earlier, there were 418,000 fewer unemployed people.
  • The unemployment rate was 5.8%, lower than for June to August 2014 (6.0%) and lower than for a year earlier (7.1%). The unemployment rate is the proportion of the economically active population (those in work plus those seeking and available to work) who were unemployed.
  • There were 9.09 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were out of work and not seeking or available to work (known as economically inactive). This was 66,000 more than for June to August 2014 and 41,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (the inactivity rate) was 22.4%, slightly higher than for June to August 2014 (22.2%) and for a year earlier (22.3%).
  • Comparing September to November 2014 with a year earlier, pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 1.7% including bonuses and by 1.8% excluding bonuses.
  • Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication.



Regional Labour Market, January 2015

Key Points

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  • The employment rate in Great Britain was highest in the East of England and the South East (76.6%) and lowest in Wales (68.7%).
  • The unemployment rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (8.5%) and lowest in the South West (4.4%).
  • The inactivity rate in Great Britain was highest in Wales (25.9%) and lowest in the East of England (19.3%).
  • The headline Claimant Count rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (4.3%) and lowest in the South East and South West (1.5%).
  • Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication.

Labour market projections for England
Data workbooks from the UKCES Working Futures programme, providing labour market projections for the South West of England from 2012 to 2022.

Labour market projections for the South West of England
Data workbooks from the UKCES Working Futures programme, providing labour market projections for England from 2012 to 2022.

What does skills policy look like now the money has run out?
Poses questions about what the future might look like for the education and training system as a whole and for FE in particular. Proposes that the policy world and funding regime which colleges have known over the last 20 years or more is rapidly drawing to an end and that a new era of austerity and very sharply reduced public funding is dawning.

Engaging small and medium enterprises in work experience and apprenticeships in London
Identifies good practice and challenges in engaging small and medium enterprises in work experience and apprenticeships in London.

European Programmes – Latest

ESF 2007 to 2013 – newsletters – updated 5 Feb 2015
Read the European Social Fund newsletter for local and national news about good practice, funding opportunities, events, awards and more.

UK perspectives – the UK in a European context
Presents interactive charts on the UK’s population and economy in a European context, illustrating how it compares with the other 27 member states of the European Union (EU).

Sector Skills Publications

The geography of the UK’s creative and high-tech economies
The first systematic analysis of employment in the UK’s creative and high-tech economies. Analyses their size, growth and distribution across the country.


Employer Apprenticeship Breakfasts in Swindon & Wiltshire
24 February 2015, 07:00 – 09:30, UTC Swindon, Bristol Street, Swindon, Wiltshire SN1 5ET

24/02/2015 – The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), the Skills Funding Agency and GWP invite you to join them at a breakfast meeting to celebrate apprenticeships. Employers will have the opportunity to; learn about how apprenticeships can help their organisation, find out more about progression opportunities onto higher level apprenticeships to support their higher level skills needs and hear about the Government’s apprenticeship reform programme.

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

Cogent – Apprenticeship Showcase & Job Opportunities
9 March 2015, 18:00 – 21:00, Alderley Park Conference Centre,

09/03/2015 – AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, is to host an Apprenticeship, Careers and Jobs Fair event on Monday 9th March 2015 (during National Apprenticeship Week) in support of the Cheshire Science Corridor agenda. The Cheshire Science Corridor will link a series of centres of excellence, based between Macclesfield, Thornton and Daresbury into the science and research community of Manchester.

Towards a sustainable agenda: Local and regional policy choices
29 April 2015, University of the West of England, Bristol

29/04/2015 – Call for papers in the field of: Green jobs, Growth and agglomeration, Impacts of creative industries, Access to markets and services, Innovation and competitiveness, Spatial productivity disparities and Low wages and high prices. Email: Don Webber or call 0117 32 83416 for details.




In our recent South West Skills Newsletter we reported changes at the Skills Funding Agency, fresh talks around pay in the Higher Education sector, and tackling the underrepresentation of women, both in work and academia. The headlines this week focus on UK Science, National Apprenticeships Week and developments at St. Luke’s Campus.

The latest figures released by HM Revenue & Customs recently (6 March) show that the value of exports from the South West increased significantly by 7.5 percent, to £13.67 billion, in the year to December 2013. This came as David Willetts announced to an audience of scientists, apprentices and schoolchildren at Jodrell Bank that Great Britain is the best place in the world to do science, with several new investments in UK science. Cutting-edge science projects will benefit from a £300 million boost to support growth and jobs in UK science as part the government’s long term economic plan. Hundreds of new technology jobs have been announced as the UK takes centre stage as official partner country at CeBIT 2014.

However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says the government should make careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) more attractive, recommending cuts in tuition fees for some STEM subject courses and better training for existing workers. The CBI also argues that key economic sectors are facing a “skills crunch”, especially for technicians. The government says it is investing £385m in STEM university facilities and to support teaching. The Deputy Prime Minister hosted an event for female STEM apprentices in the run up to International Women’s Day.

National Apprenticeship Week was in full swing last week, during which over 1,000 events celebrated the impact apprenticeships have on young people, adults, businesses and the economy. Almost half (44 per cent) of businesses in the country plan to take on apprentices in the next 5 years. Over 20,000 new jobs were pledged, with Small and Medium sized Enterprises vowing to push up apprenticeship numbers, increasingly supporting apprenticeships.

Employer-led trailblazers are leading the way in developing the new world class apprenticeships, as Government recently published Future of apprenticeships in England: guidance for trailblazers and Apprenticeship funding reform in England: payment mechanisms and funding principles. Joyce Omope, a communications apprentice working in government, talks about her experiences and what her highlights have been so far as an Apprentice at work in the heart of government.

Locally, there was an Apprenticeship Showcase for Devon employers and young people to find out about opportunities to get paid to train with a wide variety of employers. Over 120 apprenticeship vacancies were available at Gloucestershire’s SkillsFest, the county’s biggest ever apprenticeship event. Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois has learned about the opportunities available to apprentices at Gloucester-based defence equipment company MBDA. Government has also announced that taxpayers will cease to fund around 5,000 low value adult vocational qualifications, such as self-tanning, balloon artistry and instructing pole fitness.

Teaching and educational professionals are the group of workers most likely to be putting in unpaid overtime and clocking up the most free hours a week, according to figures released last week by the Universities and Colleges Union.

Here at the University of Exeter, we are pleased the St Luke’s upgrade plans have been approved, which will boost employment for Devon, as the 150-year-old university campus is given a £10m facelift. Prof Steve Thornton, Dean of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that this refurbishment will soon be under way. It will help to accommodate our plans for growth and will provide a modern facility for medical research, and for teaching and learning across all colleges.”. The refurbishment contract was awarded to the Exeter-based Midas Group, which said it was good news for local employment and sub-contractors in the area.

I hope you find this edition useful.



The headlines this week focus on skills shortages and education funding cuts.

With Gross Domestic Product having increased by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with Q3 2013, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has joined forces with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) to launch Reshore UK, a new 1-stop-shop service to help companies bring production back to the UK.

However, new research from UKCES finds that the number of job vacancies in England has returned to pre-recession levels. While the rise in job vacancies is welcome, the report finds that a sharp rise in skills shortages could be holding back the UK’s economic recovery.

Indeed, 17% of employers said they found it difficult to fill vacancies due to a lack of foreign language skills, according a recent survey, whilst NIACE report that unemployed people are increasingly likely to access English and Maths training.

The TUC’s Frances O’Grady said: “It’s great that more businesses want to recruit. But with jobseekers outnumbering vacancies by four to one, it’s hugely frustrating that across the UK a large number of jobs go unfilled because of local skills shortages.”.

It was announced that UK university applications have risen by 4% while Graduate job vacancies are predicted to ‘rise by 10%’. Meanwhile, universities are bracing themselves for significant cuts to teaching budgets totalling around £160m next year, while welcoming efforts to shield poorer students and high-cost courses from the worst of the cutbacks. The delayed announcement of the cash available for higher education in 2014-15 and beyond represents a less bleak picture than many in the sector had feared, amid rumours last month of £200m cuts including the axing of the Student Opportunity Allocation, a fund supporting widening participation.

The Institute for Learning (IfL) responded, expressing concerns about the cuts: “We know from research recently published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) that a sharp rise in skills shortages could be holding back the UK’s economic recovery, so a significant reduction in the adult skills budget makes little sense” …”IfL is also concerned about the potential far-reaching impact of the budget cuts on the range and quality of teaching and on the sector’s ability to attract the best from business and industry to teach and train in the sector. On top of the funding cuts for 18-year-olds, the net reductions in the adult skills budget, after taking into account income from loans, are set to have unfair and undesirable consequences for a substantial group of adults and young people” said Toni Fazaeli, chief executive of the IfL.

NIACE’s Chief Executive, David Hughes, responded to the HE settlement calling upon the Deputy Prime Minister to ensure that opportunities for those who had benefitted least from their initial education should be protected at all levels, from literacy and numeracy all the way to higher education.” Labour’s spokesman on higher education commented, stating that “the damage being done to universities is frankly alarming.

On a lighter note, I received an email from an primary school English teacher based in North Carolina. Michelle has a student, David, who wants to be a teacher. David has been using the internet to teach himself about becoming an educator, and wanted to write to us to say thanks as he had found our website so useful. We found the story so inspiring, we are hoping to feature David in our Research Gateway later this year. Go David!

Follow the link to our news archive.