A centralised approach to skills cannot optimise potential say South East Councils

Monday, 13 December, 2021

Cities, towns and communities in the South East have very different and specific skills needs and local partnerships and skills provision is vital if the region is to succeed. A centralised, uniform approach cannot optimise local skills potential says South East Councils as latest polling is published. 

Councillor Lynne Doherty, Executive Member of South East Councils said: 

“The South East’s skills gap is at a critical point as individuals and businesses grapple with seismic shifts driven by the pandemic and Brexit. 

“We know from our polling that people across the South East want to see investment locally for training and development of employees in the region. 

“The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill is an opportunity for the Government to ensure that councils are secured a role in working with businesses and training providers to tailor skills provision to local areas. Trust in local government is high and our polling shows that people in the South East believe that investment should be channeled locally where there is knowledge and expertise.

“If we’re to have a more coherent local skills offer and support the UK economic recovery, it is essential that local authorities are empowered to have a leading role in tackling the skills gap in their areas.”

A ComRes Savanta poll for South East Councils reveals that when investing in their local employment market respondents believe providing ‘training and development of employees’ is the biggest priority. This was the most popular priority in the SE 1000 monitor for the third year running. The  ‘providing more childcare’ option increased by 9% percentage points on the previous monitor.

Confidence in local government remains high with 56% of respondents indicating they were confident in their local council in making the right decision for their local area compared to 44% having confidence in central government.

The polling also showed that 50% of respondents want education, training and skills investment prioritised for skilled roles such as engineers or police officers. By contrast overall, 24% of respondents want investment prioritised for unskilled roles such as retail and agricultural workers or cleaners.

South East Councils believe that aspects of the Apprenticeship Levy system should be examined to see what may be better managed and supported at the local or regional level. 

The full new South East 1,000 biannual monitor Autumn 2021 can be found here 


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