Venue: Headspace - The Growth Hub, Oxstalls Campus, Oxstalls Lane, Gloucester. View directions
Welcome and Introductions
The Acting Chair, Councillor Steve Lydon, welcomed Members to the first meeting of the Gloucestershire Employment and Skills Board. He said he was looking forward to the Board members working collaboratively and cooperatively to deliver the aims of the Board.
Declaration of Interests
It was noted that some Board members may be involved in Institutes of Technology bids and if appropriate, would leave the meeting when this was discussed under item 4.
Pete Carr introduced the Priorities Discussion Paper which was circulated to Board Members with the agenda. The discussion paper is intended to reflect back to Board members the priorities that they and other stakeholders have identified for the Board so that members can review and confirm them, clarify what needs to be done and agree the work plan for the Board.
The Board was split in to small groups to discuss and feedback on the priorities, particularly to agree whether these are the right priorities, whether members have information and knowledge to add and what further research needs to be done.
Key points raised by each group as follows:
Apprenticeships and STEM (Steve Lydon, Linsey Temple, Julia Falaki)
· Need for more data to be sure whether this is a priority, particularly in light of the recent and significant changes to the apprenticeships system
· There are existing Government guidelines regarding the number of apprentices – does Gloucestershire meet the target?
· How are employers spending their levy? – more information needed
· How many levy paying employers are fully utilising their levy whilst others are disengaging from the process because of the bureaucracy involved ?
· We need to identify/promote good practice/good stories from a local levy paying employer
· Rules have changed from apprenticeships for young people to include people in work/ageing workforce Once we know what that target is, can target appropriately
· Apprenticeships need re-branding/re-launch to focus on the benefits for older workers/those upskilling as apprentices have the image of being young/new in to the workforce
· Unclear funding puts off employers
· Some apprenticeships don’t result in qualifications
· Can also mean training/upskilling an existing employee
· A priority is to identify the range and level of skills we will need and to then stimulate demand from young people for that training/apprenticeships
· There is a need to support basic skills activity, particularly for the retail, care, hospitality and security sectors alongside apprenticeship delivery
· STEM – Further research and benchmarking required to help the Board understand the nature of the challenge in Gloucestershire.
Ageing workforce and dealing with replacement demand (Russell Marchant and Catherine Coughlan)
· Agreed that this is a very a high priority, particularly because of the 9:1 replacement demand in the County
· Emphasis on workforce development, upskilling and productivity
· Focus on those with health and disability needs to support them back in to the workplace, particularly against backdrop of rexit
· Increase attractiveness of Gloucestershire
· Encourage inward migration
· Better, targeted Labour Market Information (LMI)
Stronger links between schools and businesses (Anne Stokes, Jason Dunsford and Sara-Jane Watkins)
· Agreed that this is a high priority
· Careers guidance not seen as a priority within schools as there is no incentive – checked by Ofsted but not a priority area of inspection
· No impact on school performance tables so no incentive to provide careers guidance. Careers forum/networking for careers coordinators in schools and colleges is limited due to lack of funding. More could be done to supply this group with information and to support this group.
· Lack ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
It was agreed that the focus of the Board will be the needs of our young people, those seeking jobs and the skills of the current and future workforce with particular emphasis on helping those who are currently economically inactive for whatever reason to develop their employability skills and find employment. This will be reflected in the updated Terms of Reference.
There was a concern that scope is unachievable and that it should be more focussed, based on agreed priorities. Russell Marchant proposed that influence and input in to the Industrial Strategy is key for this Board, with genuine employer engagement. Michael Carter expressed concern that the Board may be trying to do too much and Sara-Jane Watkins suggested that the Board should pick a single topic to focus on.
ACTION: Board members will feed back any suggested amendments to the Terms of Reference individually to Pauline, who will circulate an updated version prior to the next meeting
Sub groups/task and finish groups
· Post-16 area review
It was agreed by members that there is no need for a Post-16 area review sub group as this is concluded as the Federation of Gloucestershire Group have taken this on.
Given the discussion regarding Institutes of Technology, members agreed there is currently no requirement for a sub group.
Topics for next meeting
· Employment and Skills section of the Gloucestershire Industrial Strategy
· Review of the Careers Strategy
It was agreed that the next meeting will focus on the following:
· Discussion regarding the Employment and Skills section of the Gloucestershire Industrial Strategy
ACTION: Kathryn to circulate a summary of the National Industrial Strategy
· Review of the Careers Strategy
ACTION: Pete Carr to circulate (link to) existing Careers Strategy and confirm what is required of the Board. Arrange for relevant person to talk to the Board about the Careers Strategy
ACTION: Anne Stokes will get teachers’ perspective and feedback to the next meeting
Lynden Stowe suggested that a dashboard with basic baseline/benchmarking data would be very useful and helpful such as how many children of school age are there in the county, how many go on to do A-levels, what are employment rates.
ACTION: Kathryn to pull together data and give the Board an idea of what can be monitored i.e. what real time data is available. Catherine Coughlan to provide DWP data/information as appropriate
Any other business
There was no other business
Dates of future meetings
17 January 2018 at 10am
11 April 2018 at 10am
11 July 2018 at 10am
10 October 2018 at 10am