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Tackling South East skills gaps

SEEC has called for action on skills as new report shows that 99% of job opportunities will be closed to people without qualifications in the next 6 years.

SEEC has called for greater powers for local authorities to help address skills shortages after publishing a new report showing gaps in the supply of skills that employers need.

The report Evidencing the South East’s skills gaps and challenges, published by SEEC and research specialist Shared Intelligence, highlights:
– By 2024, only 1% of South East jobs are expected to be filled by workers with no qualifications, down from 8.8% of jobs in 2004.
– By 2024, 48.5% of jobs will need at least a foundation degree, up from 27.9% in 2004.

But while South East employers’ demand for skills is rising, opportunities for high-level apprenticeships are limited and take up of other vocational training is falling. The report shows:
– Despite large, growing South East hi-tech and high-skill service sectors, only 8.5% of the South East’s 47,000 apprenticeships offer degree-level qualifications.
– The proportion of South East residents training for NVQ level 2 qualifications has fallen by 57% since 2011-12.
– Almost a fifth of all job vacancies (18.5%) fall in the education or care sectors.
– Half the South East residents without qualifications (49%) are unemployed.

SEEC Chairman Cllr Roy Perry said: “The South East is the golden goose of the UK economy, contributing a net £154bn to the Treasury from 2000-16 – the UK’s highest – and to sustain this we need skills. Local authorities can help deliver better skills but we need greater powers to do this – for example the ability to direct skills funding to meet local needs and to encourage students to take up engineering and science.”

SEEC Deputy Chairman Cllr Ralph Bagge added: “Councils can play an important role in making sure our residents are well-placed to take advantage of local job opportunities. We know skills will be increasingly important, so we would like to explore additional ways that councils could help incentivise people to gain qualifications that will get them into work.”