APGSCE event on Local Skills Improvement Plans

On 9th September 2021 the APPG for Skills, Careers and Employment held an event and workshop discussion on Local Skills Improvement Plans. The event was chaired by Baroness Sue Garden, a Liberal Democrat peer and officer of the group.

Part of the Skills for Jobs: A New Further Education Funding and Accountability System consultation proposes a change in accountability and autonomy for further education colleges, using a new dashboard system to benchmark provider performance for quality, financial health and skills. This skills element is a new measure which determines how the college is meeting local skills needs (as set out by Local Skills Improvement Plans), and national needs set by Whitehall.

The data underpinning this skills measure includes student digital education records, including movement into employment, and employers’ experience through LSIPs. Thus, LSIPs will play an increasing role in measuring the performance of outcomes for GFEs and students, and will have an enhanced role for employer input to determine local skills needs and the resulting provision.

Our event featured speakers including Angela Foulkes, Principal and Chief Executive of Sheffield College, and Alexis Krachai and Louisa Harrison-Walker, co-Executive Directors of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. Sheffield is part of the South Yorkshire LSIP trailblazer pilot areas, one of eight pilot areas announced recently. At the session we discussed what needs to be included for an LSIP to be of high quality, and deliverable for all parties, as well as the general elements important for a successful local economy and skills system.

The overall themes of our speakers’ comments and the general discussion during the event included:

  • the importance of young people’s aspirations for their careers and lives
  • the agility of the skills system in its response to labour market needs
  • the need to help SMEs to get involved in LSIPs and articulating workforce and skills needs
  • the importance of careers advice as part of the skills, education and training, and employment system
  • the need for sufficient, long-term funding for further education colleges
  • methods of and necessities for attracting and retaining further education teachers with industry knowledge or experience.

Policy Connect will use the themes and points from the discussion as part of our response to the Skills for Jobs: Further Education Funding and Accountability consultation, which closes on the 7th October.