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South Yorkshire Chambers to Deliver Local Skills Improvement Plan for the Region

The three Chambers of Commerce for South Yorkshire confirm funding to continue the development of a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) on behalf of the entire region.

The three Chambers of Commerce for South Yorkshire confirm funding to continue the development of a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) on behalf of the entire region.

With an ultimate aim of improving the area’s productivity, this project will ensure that skills providers can better meet the needs of employers and that residents are equipped with sought-after skills that enable them to prosper in the workplace.

Across all sectors in the UK, recruitment is proving to be a significant challenge right now. Many businesses are struggling to find suitable candidates who are capable of filling their outstanding vacancies, and there is a great disparity between the skills that people are offering and the skills that businesses actually need.

To address this issue, The Department of Education (DfE) is funding a total of 38 LSIPs that will give employers more input into their local skills systems. Connecting up various stakeholders — including colleges, universities, private training providers, businesses and government — these plans will help close the skills gap and ensure that more relevant training opportunities are available to adults, so that they can qualify for jobs in their area.

Earlier this year, South Yorkshire served as one of just eight LSIP trailblazers and used the learning from this experience to produce an innovative People & Skills Manifesto, which itself laid out over 40 practical recommendations for creating an improved skills strategy for our region.

South Yorkshire is now capitalising upon this success, as it has been chosen by DfE as one of the areas that will be delivering a full LSIP. This represents a continuation of the work that went into the earlier trailblazer project and will build upon the research that has already been done by the original team.

Speaking of which, the three regional Chambers of Commerce (for Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley & Rotherham) are leading the way on this project. Together, these organisations will be collaborating with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), SY Colleges Group, universities, private training providers, other employer groups and a range of local businesses.

Reflecting on the news, Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber, said: “We know that the skills gap is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses right now, as not having access to the best people can cause plans to delay and growth to stagnate.  By developing an LSIP, South Yorkshire will be primed to align its skills system with the needs of employers and to help people access rewarding careers in South Yorkshire.”

Dan Fell, Chief Executive of Doncaster Chamber added: “Naturally, this will demand a holistic and collegiate approach on our part. We will need to engage with firms, education providers and a variety of other key stakeholders. Fortunately, the South Yorkshire Chambers are well positioned to lead on this research work, as we are able to connect all of these disparate parties and get them talking to one another.

“We need to get to a point where South Yorkshire does skills planning once and well, as opposed to multiple organisations each producing their own version of a similar strategy.  We must also move beyond planning to swift and effective implementation; businesses are struggling now and, as such, we intend for our LSIP to have a real-time, as well as long-term, benefit.

Echoing these sentiments, Alexis Krachai, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber, added: “Last year the South Yorkshire Chambers came together to start the process of getting our region’s many businesses and employers to have more of an input in how we develop skills across our communities. The partnership — forged with skills providers, local authorities and the office of the mayor —  has meant we are all increasingly working towards the same objectives and driven by the same principles to unlock the potential in our communities.

“The confirmation of further funding to continue this work is another important step in the direction of South Yorkshire becoming home to the most agile skill system in the UK. A system that truly meets the needs of local businesses in a fast-changing economy.”

An LSIP briefing event for key stakeholders will be held later this month. More information about this will be communicated shortly.

All of the newly announced LSIPs will be submitted to the Secretary of State by May 2023. The South Yorkshire People & Skills Manifesto can be read in full here.

You can find out more about the LSIP on the Doncaster Chamber website here.



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