ESIF Skills for the Workforce

The proportion of the working age population across the Black Country with no qualifications has risen from 16.4% in 2011 to 19% in 2015 demonstrating a small but significant rise and a particular impediment to them participating in the labour market. 

Skills shortages for existing businesses are an increasing concern  with employers in many key sectors reporting that the current workforce in the Black Country is lacking in key skills, particularly technical skills, which together with an ageing workforce is driving this increase. The 2015 UKCE labour force survey  indicated that in the Black Country 66% of employers reporting a skills shortage vacancy indicated that technical, practical and job specific skills were an issue and that skilled trades are most likely to experience hard to fill vacancies.

To help upskill and multi-skill  the existing workforce,  Black Country LEP (BCLEP) has and is promoting the following actions in addition to it’s work on apprenticeships:

  • the Black Country Skills Factory works in collaboration with local FE colleges and training providers to broker and promote a new bite-sized delivery format of short, practical,  technical upskilling courses in the engineering sector
  • identified a matrix of technical training provision to help signpost business requiring training.
  • shaped with employers  the delivery format of the 2 year in-work BEng in Manufacturing Engineering degree being delivered by the University of Wolverhampton.
  • created and delivering a bite-sized, accredited Management and Leadership programme for operation leaders in manufacturing as part of the UKCES Futures programme
  • Growth Deal funding support to help upgrade and enhance upskilling training facilities at key Black Country providers (e.g Dudley College, Walsall College, Sandwell College, Halesowen College, In-comm Training Ltd, PTP Training Ltd)
  • The Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills will offer a wide range of bite-sized, short courses.
  • Work commenced to replicate the above for the construction sector and the  HS2 project.

New flagship developments such as: the two Black Country University Technical Colleges (Health & Construction), Dudley College Cabtech (Construction & Building Technology Centre) in 2017 and Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (2017) are major key elements in the Black Country forward strategy supported by BCLEP.

For further information, please contact Colin Parker on 01384 471112.