The Employment and Skills plan for South West and Mid Wales has been developed between January and July 2016 to inform and support the Welsh Government’s strategic approach to the delivery of employment and skills, in conjunction with the other two Regional Skills Partnerships (RSPs).
In line with the Regional Learning & Skills Partnership’s geography this plan aims to support the work of the Swansea Bay City Region and the Growing Mid Wales Partnership, taking close consideration of the identified priorities for those areas, ensuring synergy where possible. Both areas have challenges due in part to their differing geographies; ranging from the urban areas of Swansea with its wide employment make up and significant transportation links to the remote and rural areas of Mid Wales with low population densities and a large shared border with the west of England and the Midlands which are an important economic influence.
As identified by Welsh Government, July 2016 is the optimum time to influence future provision and there are a number of key curriculum areas which the plans aim to influence, these include:
1.1.1 Apprenticeships & Vocational Qualifications
Four sectors will be identified for a recommended increase and decrease of Welsh Government Apprenticeship investment.
1.1.2 Further Education
The priorities identified at a regional level will be considered as part of the FE and LA planning process and will be articulated in guidance issued during the cycle.
1.1.3 Higher Education
The current DfES remit letter to HEFCW is explicit that Higher Education Institutions should; ‘engage fully with, and take account of regional employment and skills plans when making decisions as to where to prioritise higher level skills delivery, including undergraduate routes where appropriate’ and that; ‘work on skills demand, supply and utilisation in each of the regions should be reflected in institutional plans, ensuring delivery meets economic priorities’.
Therefore, as a result skill shortage areas in degree and post-graduate qualifications will be identified in conjunction with the identification of areas of good practice in Higher Education interaction with industry as a means to influencing increased high quality interactions within regions.
An element of the plan will state how interventions to support NEETS/ young people (including those funded using ESF) are complementary and do not duplicate Welsh Government mainstream programmes.
Phase one – Demand
Phase one sees the identification and contextualisation of the key demand drivers for the region. Such information has been gathered from a range of both primary and secondary data and intelligence of both a quantitative and qualitative nature.
Integral to phase one is the analysis of a range of secondary evidence gathered from a plethora of sources, which include but are not limited to – Welsh Government, UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Annual Population Survey and the Business register & employment survey. This secondary labour market intelligence (LMI) allows deduction of the region’s performance in terms of the economy and education.
A further aspect of this phase and one which complements the aforementioned secondary LMI is employer led intelligence sourced from two primary research exercises into the workforce and skills needs of large companies in South West and Mid Wales. A large company survey was commissioned by the RLSP and WG to look specifically at companies with a workforce of over 150 employees and undertaken throughout April. An additional survey was disseminated electronically by the RLSP targeting all business types across the region and conducted between April and June. The findings have been analysed and combined to form the employers voice element of this plan. This level of employer engagement aims to confirm that this plan has considered not only secondary labour market intelligence but also the ‘real-time’ needs of the key employers within the region.
Phase two – Supply
Phase two will allow the opportunity for further engagement with employers, providers and key stakeholders. This engagement will underpin the work undertaken by the RLSP in the analysis of the curriculum supply information against the demand information identified during phase one. It is during this time that the appropriateness of curriculum provision will be determined and whereby recommendations will be made at a sector level.
To download the PDF version of the Employment and Skills Plan South West and Mid Wales, click here.