The Three Chambers of Commerce for South Yorkshire, those being Barnsley & Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster have been leading on the development of the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) on behalf of the entire region.
For context, LSIPs are funded by the Department of Education (DfE) with the ultimate aim of improving our nation’s productivity.
Across all sectors in the UK, recruitment is proving to be a significant challenge right now. Many businesses are struggling to find suitable candidates 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.
In order to address this gap, LSIPs give employers more direct input into their respective skills systems and ensure that local residents are able to prosper in the workplace as well. The plans do this by making a series of practical recommendations for partners to follow and by influencing education curriculums.
Who is Involved in the South Yorkshire LSIP?
The DfE is currently funding a total of 38 LSIPs in the UK, including the one for South Yorkshire.
In terms of the latter project, the three SY Chambers of Commerce will be collaborating together, with Doncaster being designated as the lead Employer Representative Body. Together, these organisations will be working with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), SY Colleges Group, universities, local authorities, career bodies, private training providers and various employer groups.
Delivering the LSIP will inevitably necessitate consultations with education providers, as their curriculums will be directly affected by the outcomes. We will also need to engage heavily with businesses, in order to better understand their skills needs. This research will take the form of short surveys, events and diagnostic interviews with the employers themselves.
What is the Focus of the South Yorkshire LSIP?
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 in our region.
Our new LSIP will build upon the foundations of this work and we will not be starting from scratch. However, we will be concentrating more on a particular theme.
This is because the DfE have stated that trailblazer regions (like South Yorkshire) should take a more specific focus. In our case, we will be looking at digital skills, as our trailblazer report identified this as a key concern for the region.
Of the employers surveyed as part of SY Trailblazer, representing a diverse range of industries, 74% believed digital skills were important for their current workforce to be effective and more than half believed that their reliance on such skills would increase significantly within the next five years. Yet many reported that they are struggling in this area.
When Will the LSIP Be Delivered?
The research for the South Yorkshire LSIP was carried out until April 2023 and we had data from 700 survey responses, 116 in-depth face to face interviews as well as some focus groups.
This data was then analysed and the LSIP written and handed into DFE at the end of May, this has now been approved by the secretary of state and can be found below.
The next step is Stage 2 which is all about embedding it with local providers and this stage will run until March 2025.
How to Get Involved with the LSIP
Doncaster Chamber will be sending out regular briefings to update key stakeholders on LSIP progress. If you feel that you need to be kept in the loop here, or if you otherwise want to be involved with the project (whether you are a South Yorkshire business or training provider) then please email: SouthYorkshireLSIP@Doncaster-Chamber.co.uk