A new five-year strategy to develop the skilled workforce needed to help the South East continue to grow and play its vital role in the UK economy has been launched by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).
Developed with local businesses and education providers and supporting the Government’s Industrial Strategy and new national Careers Strategy, the SELEP blueprint is an employer and evidence-led statement of the skills and employment priorities needed to drive productivity and growth across the LEP area.
Skills strategy launch and opening of the Construction Skills Centre
The strategy was launched on Friday (September 21st) at the official opening of the new Construction Skills Centre at Folkestone College in Kent, which has received £1.36m of Local Growth Fund support via SELEP.
Speaking at the event, Christian Brodie (pictured right), Chair of SELEP, said: “It’s really apt that we are holding this in Folkestone College, part of East Kent College Group. This is one of many centres we have invested in to ensure we have the right infrastructure to deliver.
“We are clear on the fundamental role played by skills in responding to current and future growth across our LEP area. The strategy has received strong backing by our local business and skills boards as well as our Strategic Board and so is a clear articulation of our shared ambitions and commitment to this agenda.
“The challenge is considerable but so is the opportunity and we are confident in our ability to deliver given the commitment we all share.”
Christian added “We have rural and urban areas, internationally significant companies and burgeoning SMEs, sectors such as manufacturing, construction, IT, digital, creative, finance health, care and logistics are huge employers and on a scale larger than that of most other LEP areas.
“These sectors offer a vast range of job opportunities and will continue to do so, and it is vital that we ensure a pipeline of skilled people to respond.”
The strategy sets out a series of priorities, including:
- Increase apprenticeships and industry relevant qualifications for all ages, particularly in priority sectors and at higher and degree level
- Simplify the skills landscape for employers, stakeholders and individuals
- Build an inclusive economy and provide employment opportunities for all
- Raise awareness of jobs and growth across SELEP and the area’s size, scale, national and international significance
- Foster and support the spirit of pride, entrepreneurship, innovation and enthusiasm across SELEP to bring about change
Opening of the college’s new Construction Skills Centre
The event also saw the opening of the college’s new construction skills centre by Christian Brodie.
Graham Razey, Principal of East Kent College Group and Chair of the SELEP Skills Advisory Group, played a leading role in the development of the Skills Strategy.
He said “This project will provide much needed additional facilities to meet known employer demands. This responds to regional and local demand for construction skills leading to higher value jobs for young people in the area. We are especially pleased to be offering courses for heritage construction which teached skills for renovation and maintenance to buildings of historic significance which is unique and supports our vibrant tourism sector.”
SELEP skills strategy 2018 – 2023
The South East LEP, which covers East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway Southend and Thurrock, it is the biggest LEP in the country with a population of 4.2 million forecast to grow to 5 million by 2030 and is home to both prosperous and deprived communities.
Please visit www.southeastlep.com for more information