From education to employment

New agreement will combine might of industry know-how

Businesses in the South West of England are to benefit from industry expertise following the announcement of a new strategy designed to address skills gaps more efficiently.

The South West Regional Skills Partnership (SWSRP) has unveiled plans for a region-wide operation involving all of its many partners, to specify and tackle skills shortages in the region, under a new Sector Operations Group.

The group have begun to meet with Sector Skills Councils (SSC) as part of the new programme, to ensure that each Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) receives equal attention from the SWRSP’s partners.

Speaking on the programme, John Rogers, Chief Executive of Skills for Health, said: “The Sectors Operations Group was set up in the early part of this year to support the RSP and its partners in South West England, by developing a straightforward mechanism to consider and respond to each SSA as it comes on stream”.

The group have already met with SEMTA Marine and Skillsfast to discuss SSA’s, and are scheduled to meet with two different SSC’s every month.

Sandy deViell, Business Development Manager for the SWRSP Central Team, noted: “Every region has a different approach for SSA’s and this is the process which we have developed in South West England. It has generated a lot of interest already and has generally been lauded by those SSCs which have already met with the group”.

The process has been designed to ensure simplicity. SSC’s draw up a regional template, which is a briefing document sent out to the SWRSP three weeks before presentation. That template is then circulated to all of the SWRSP’s partners, inviting comment and updates. Partners include the Learning and Skills Council, the Association of Learning Providers, and the Confederation of British Industry.

The SSC then presents their agreement to the group, and any gaps in skills provision can be properly worked out.

Chas Hubbard from Skillsfast was enthusiastic about the new approach: “I found it was a very valuable experience. I think the approach that has been taken is a potential model for other RSPs and derivatives across England”.

Vijay Pattni.

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