People out of work in Lancashire are being given an exclusive chance to share their views on barriers to upskilling and retraining as part of the ground-breaking project to reshape the future of technical skills provision in the county.

The evidence is being gathered as part of the Lancashire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), which is being led by the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and supported by Lancaster Chamber and on behalf of the Department of Education.

The Chambers’ LSIP business engagement team is seeking the views of Lancashire’s workers and those currently seeking employment to help form the plan. Views are also being sought from business owners and HR professionals on topics around upskilling and retraining.

Since launching the Lancashire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) evidence gathering programme in November, thousands of business owners, leaders and professionals have shared their views.

CEO of North & West Lancashire Chamber, Babs Murphy, said:

“Whether you are in employment and looking to grow or out of work and need to retrain, it is vital that our workforce has easy access to the right skills programme. This topic is of huge importance.

“We’ve been very pleased with the response rate from the business community but this is only one side of the coin; we want to hear from people either in employment or looking for work. Their views are crucial to enable us to help shape the plan.”

As part of the Chamber’s evidence gathering, it has hosted events across a range of skills areas including manufacturing, services, transport and distribution, energy and environmental, construction, internationalisation, digitisation, net zero, sales and marketing, and HR.

Babs added:

“We have a number of upskilling and retraining surveys going to businesses week commencing December 6 and giving workers the chance to contribute through social media or speak to us direct.

“While it is still early days, it is clear that employers see the value in this initiative and feel it can help create the right skills environment to help people across many sectors get the right skills, build successful careers while equipping businesses with the skilled talent to grow.”

Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) were proposed as elements of the government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper, published in January 2021, which is now referred to as the Skills Accelerator. It also includes the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), a £65m investment to help colleges in the implement some of the strategic priorities set out in the local skills improvement plan.

In Lancashire, the SDF will be led by Myerscough College on behalf of The Lancashire Colleges (TLC).

Lancashire’s plan will be submitted to the Department of Education by March 31 2022 to help the government determine whether Local Skills Improvement Plans is the best method to shape UK skills provision.

The Chambers are collectively looking to engage with over 10,000 businesses as part of its evidence gathering.

Information on Lancashire Local Skills Improvement Plan website at www.lancashirelsip.co.uk.

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