Skills Priorities Mapped Out

The skills needed to drive a region’s economy forward have been mapped out in a new report.

The York, North Yorkshire, East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER LEP) commissioned a Labour Market Analysis, examining strengths and gaps in the area’s workforce. On Monday (20), employers, schools, colleges and other skills providers attended an event at the Priory Street Centre in York to hear more and discuss findings.

Sam Alexander, Chair of the LEP’s Skills and Employability Board, said: “The report assesses what skills are needed in the local economy, both now and in the future. This will not only help inform the LEP’s Skills and Employability Board – a group of employers, skills providers and local government helping steer skills investment in the area – but also the work of local schools and colleges.

“The event on Monday drew together a range of organisations, all keen to work together to ensure the right people with the right skills are in the right place to support economic growth for the area. Those attending worked together to develop positive responses to some of the expected workforce changes to ensure that the productivity of our economy is boosted and the potential of individuals in the labour market is unleashed.”

Key themes highlighted in the report include:

  • Extra support for workers aged 50+ is recommended, encouraging them to stay “economically active”. As people leave the labour market earlier due to retirement, there is a significant impact for the economy, for business and individuals.
  • Occupations where employment in the area is growing will require additional workers who need to be replaced due to the loss of older workers. The highest projected requirement is for carers in the Health and Social care sector – more than 20,000 job openings are expected in YNYER over the next decade. Demand is also projected to be high among digital professions and within teaching.
  • Technology is altering the importance of some tasks and jobs in the labour market. As a result, there will be a need to invest in re-skilling to enable workers to adapt to changes in the design of their existing jobs and to help them to move jobs or even occupations in order to benefit from more sustainable opportunities.
  • YNYER has the highest rate of home / remote working of any of the 38 LEP areas in England, with 23% of all workers falling into this category. This kind of flexible working plays an important role in improving work-life balance, supporting health and well-being and enabling individuals to combine productive work with caring responsibilities or to stay in the workforce for longer.

The LEP provides funding and support to local employers and individuals to enable economic growth. Between 2014 and 2019, the LEP committed £42.9m of skills funding locally. This included supporting more than 1,200 businesses and 4,600 individuals with workforce skills, while 130 grants were awarded to community projects supporting unemployed.

In 2020 a number of new projects will be launched by the LEP which will support employers and individuals in the workforce with some of the challenges highlighted in the labour market analysis. This will include projects that will:

  • increase the number of graduate opportunities locally and retain higher level skills
  • enable people on in-work benefits to realise their potential and connect with skills training to increase their prospects of sustainable quality employment
  • encourage female employees to access STEM/digital roles or to progress within existing ones
  • support leadership and management training
  • help businesses to offer more support for female employees and tackle gender stereotyping
  • support businesses to promote inclusivity and diversity by establishing a positive workplace culture towards those with mental and physical disabilities and neurodiversity.

The forthcoming Local Industrial Strategy from the LEP also addresses the area’s skills need. The strategy, currently out for public consultation, aims to promote good growth in the area for the next 20 years. 

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