Developing a well-qualified workforce
The work of the LEP’s Education Trust is crucial in realising the aspiration to develop education and skills among all age groups ensuring the future economic prosperity and competitiveness of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. The Trust’s projects focus on developing a well-qualified and adaptable workforce, with the skills sets appropriate to the needs of existing business sectors as well as those with potential economic growth. The projects support the LEP priorities of apprenticeship growth, advanced manufacturing, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and improved careers education and guidance.
The Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Skills Hub (AMESH Phase 1) has delivered courses to 1,600 learners in the first year of operation, an increase of 27% against the baseline year. Stoke-on-Trent College developed new programmes for Bentley and JCB apprentices, South Staffordshire College started a two-year advanced apprenticeship in construction with Redrow Homes for 26 apprentices and Martec Training developed an introductory course in electric and hybrid cars with more than 80 students.
A Young Ambassador Network launched in July 2016 and has 23 young apprentices supporting careers events and other activities to promote apprenticeships. The second Apprentice Graduation Ceremony was held in July, helping to raise the profile of apprenticeships. More than 120 apprentices graduated.
The Locality Project, supported by partners Young Enterprise and the Careers and Enterprise Company, is developing education and industry relationships to improve the work readiness of secondary pupils, via competitions, work experience and industry days. Year 1: 3,333 pupils engaged in enterprise training; 3,600 engaged in employer activities and 1,000 engaged in work experience.
Employer engagement and ownership of skills is critical to growth ambitions. A partnership group has been working on scoping and designing a Staffordshire Skills Hub which will provide employers and individuals access to skills information, offering a brokerage and support service and a key source of labour market intelligence. In addition to the access point it will ensure a joined up skills system and co-ordinate all skills initiatives in the local area which align with the Growth Hub, Apprenticeship Hub and Ladder, and the Careers and Employability Framework.
The next stage of the Apprenticeship project will be to produce an Apprenticeship Hub Growth Plan, which will support businesses in addressing their workforce development needs for the present and deliver growth in the number of apprenticeships available in the area, while considering the potential impact locally of the Apprenticeship Levy which comes into being in April 2017.
Stafford College will be developing a technology-rich and industry leading Advanced Manufacturing and STEM centre (AMESH Phase 2) significantly enhancing the provision of apprenticeships and traineeships. This The centre will support the delivery of employer responsive apprenticeship and traineeship programmes in STEM subjects ranging from level 1 through to advanced and higher levels. Facilities in the STEM centre will include Chemistry, Physics and Biology labs, an Information Technology suite, a Cadco suite, and facilities for robotics and laser 3D printing.
JCB Academy proposes to refurbish the former Dove First School to create an Apprenticeship Engineering Centre. The AgriSTEM Academy at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston campus will engage an additional 156 employers by September 2017 and deliver an additional 339 apprenticeships and 100 traineeships by September 2018.