A report was presented which provided an update for the LEP Board across the range of the MCA skills and employment activity. The report reflected upon the discussion at the Education, Skills and Employability Board meeting held on 15 June 2021 and included a number of the decisions and actions that had been agreed at that meeting. An overview of the previous decisions and work that was already in train were provided within the report, together with updates on the two LEP programmes – Skills Bank and the South Yorkshire Careers and Enterprise Company Hub (formally Enterprise Advisor Network).
Councillor Read commented that he was happy with the recommendations outlined within the report. He requested an update on the South Yorkshire Jobs Fund, in terms of its development and a timeline as to when this may become operational.
H George referred to the small group that was being established to drive forward the South Yorkshire Jobs Fund programme and to provide strategic direction; the group would meet in July 2021. Soft market testing would shortly commence to establish how the payments could be made. Funding had been made available through the gainshare. It was envisaged that a pilot testing phase would be undertaken during autumn 2021, dependent upon the results of the soft market testing.
In relation to the economy presentation that was made at today’s meeting, J Muir commented that many of the programmes had been created and implemented on the back of the RAP. He queried whether this was enough in terms of the scale of funding to address the skills issue.
H George considered that there was not enough funding. For example, Members noted the huge amount that could be undertaken for the apprenticeships through the gainshare funding and working with the apprenticeships levy. There was a need for a good robust strategy to be implemented.
J Muir queried whether the programmes should be undertaken on a much larger scale, or whether there was a need for supplementary programmes.
N Brewster commented that some of the employers could cease their training budgets, and therefore the Skills Bank was the most sensible option. Members noted the work underway to develop a task force approach to support redundancy and the development of the South Yorkshire Jobs Fund. The Skills Strategy would be developed to work both quickly and deliberately with a focus on the future. He expressed concern that this related to the education, skills and employability thematic area.
Members noted that the matter would be considered at the thematic board, and a more lengthy discussion would ensue at a future LEP Board meeting.
In relation to the South Yorkshire Job Fund, B Adams considered that it could be beneficial for the LEP Board to have an input onto the steering committee with the local authorities’ employer representatives, in relation to influencing the training and skills needs of businesses across South Yorkshire.
H George was happy for B Adams to sit on the SCR Skills Board for Redundancy.
J Muir gave thanks to H George for the presentation and the useful discussion, with a view to her coming back to a future LEP Board meeting.
RESOLVED – That the Board:-
i) Noted the update on devolved Adult Education Budget commissioning.
ii) Noted the proposals for the development of a South Yorkshire Skills Strategy.
iii) Noted the update on Careers Advice and Guidance.
iv) Approved the development of a full specification for the next iteration of Skills Bank based on the recommendations of the ESEB covering the principles, economic and social value outcomes and the operating model which were set out at Appendices C and D to the report.
v) Noted the proposal for a Task and Finish Group to consider skills support for redundancy.
vi) Noted the update on the proposed South Yorkshire Jobs Fund programme for those unemployed for 6 months.