Lancashire businesses have the opportunity to have their say on how the skills system in the county can work better for them.

Following a successful Trailblazer project – one of only eight across England – completed in March this year, the Lancashire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) is up and running as part of a national roll-out.

The East Chamber of Commerce has again been designated by the Department for Education to deliver the LSIP in Lancashire. This is being done in partnership with the North & Western Lancashire Chamber and supported by many other employer representative bodies, local employers, skills providers, local authorities and key stakeholders in Lancashire.

LSIPs provide employers with a platform to explain what the issues are that prevent them from finding people with the right skills and upskilling their own staff to improve productivity. The findings coming directly from employer interaction will direct providers to change courses and help them deliver exactly what the Lancashire economy needs.

The Chamber has put a call out to thousands of employers  to get engaged and get to the very heart of the skills problem which stops businesses from growing in a tough economic climate.

A series of sector-based focus groups will provide the backbone of the LSIP work, allowing in depth work on the big issues affecting businesses now and how emerging technologies and the changing workplace will impact them in the future.

These focus groups – chaired by industry and business leaders – are available to book now here.

They will focus on the skills sector in:

• Manufacturing 

• Construction 

• Services 

• Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism 

• Retail 

• Energy and Environment 

• Transport and Distribution 

• Farming and Agriculture 

The face-to-face groups will be supported by a series of online events, short surveys and interviews with key decision-makers in order to get an insight into the issues affecting all sizes of business.

In turn, education providers and stakeholders will be engaged with the conversations taking place in the sector focus groups to give them the knowledge they require to shape the future curriculum in the Lancashire skills sector.

Following the final sector focus groups, a report will be submitted to the Department for Education but communication with business and providers will continue into the next stage of the LSIP.

Miranda Barker OBE, CEO of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“It is vital for all our businesses that education providers are able to tailor their students’ skills to what our local East Lancashire firms need –  to help all our innovators, manufacturers and superb service providers continue to compete regionally, nationally and globally.

“We are delighted to be working again in partnership with North & Western Lancashire Chamber to deliver the continuation of the Local Skills Improvement Plan, and hope all our East Lancashire businesses take part.

“Make sure you’re helping to shape the future employees you need!”

Babs Murphy, CEO of North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“This is a critical time for Lancashire businesses when it comes to the skills issue. Many employers have had concerns for years and the recent COVID pandemic has only highlighted their concerns.

“The LSIP Trailblazer project shone a light on the worries many employers have, and we hope this next stage will spotlight other areas of the skills gap and get more and more businesses taking part in the events we are staging.

“With the economic doom and gloom hanging over the country, there has never been a better time to get your voice heard and enact real change at the heart of the skills and employment gaps in the county.

“We urge every employer – large or small – to come forward and tell us what skills you are lacking and how education providers can help in filling the gap which is so badly needed in the county.”

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Published On: October 31st, 2022