Major advances in tackling the skills shortage in Essex have been revealed in a new top level report for the county. Enormous progress been made to ensure local people are trained with the skills employers need, helping to boost Greater Essex’s £38billion economy.
The key report has been unveiled by The Essex Employment and Skills Board (ESB) in its latest edition of the Skills Evidence Base and shows that although Greater Essex’s 74,000 businesses still face a number of challenges, strong progress is being made thanks to various local initiatives.
The ESB is a strategic, employer-led board that also has local authority partners, including Essex County Council, and aims to ensure Essex has the skills the county needs to grow and prosper.
The fourth edition of the ESB’s report identifies priority sectors in the local economy and provides key information on skills needs and challenges.
The latest priority sectors are: Advanced manufacturing and engineering; Care; Construction; Financial and related services; Health; IT, digital and creative and Logistics.
The report is fundamental in ensuring that the county responds to the main skills challenges it faces.
Angela O’Donoghue, an ESB board member and Principal and Chief Executive of South Essex College, added: “A large number of Further Education Colleges in Essex have used the Skills Evidence Base to support successful bids to the Local Enterprise Partnership for the purchase of new equipment, to help fund the construction of new facilities and to enable curriculum development focused on local employer need.”
In total, local colleges have used the report as leverage to secure more than £15million of funding to enhance their facilities and equipment.
Examples include a new Centre for Advanced Manufacturing at Harlow College, logistics facilities at South Essex College and STEM facilities at Colchester Institute
Other successes to date include the introduction of the ESB Education and Industry STEM programme, which has worked with employers to inspire more than 800 schoolchildren across Greater Essex in the past year.
The ESB has used its evidence base to deliver a Golden Hello and Tutor Training Programme to enable FE training providers to provide the training that industry needs and to create its ‘What’s Your Thing?’ local careers information booklet, which was distributed to more than 20,000 young people.
Suzanne Jude, Chair of the Essex Employment and Skills Board, said “When we first produced our Skills Evidence Base back in 2013, nothing like this existed in Essex, or indeed elsewhere in the country.
“Four years later, our Skills Evidence Base is widely viewed as the definitive source of intelligence on the skills challenges that employers in Essex’s priority sectors are facing and provides a unique insight into the skills and jobs that are in demand across the county.”
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Skills, Infrastructure and the Digital Economy, said: “Bridging the skills gap in Essex is vital in ensuring that our businesses have the high-skilled workforces they need, as well as ensuing our residents are equipped to grasp the emerging opportunities as the county’s economy continues to grow.
“The Essex Employment and Skills Board and its partners are already achieving some real successes, but we recognise that more work must still be done to develop the future talent pool that is required.
“The latest Skills Evidence Base provides a real insight into the skills needs and challenges across key sectors, and will play an important role in ensuring Greater Essex has all of the ingredients needed to drive further economic prosperity.”
To find out more about the ESB or download a copy of the latest Skills Evidence Base, please visit www.essexesb.co.uk.