Latest Updates From Surrey Chambers CEO – 10th April

12th April 2023


We have had a very short pause in activity as everyone focused on a long weekend, but events are stepping up again to provide businesses opportunities to meet up with potential clients and suppliers. The Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) has reached a milestone where we have consolidated our key findings into a number of priority themes that will form the basis of the LSIP report which will be submitted for approval to the Secretary of State for Education.  The question we have been grappling with is: What is needed to make technical education and skills provision more responsive to the changing needs of employers and the local economy? 

We have identified a number of priorities that, if addressed, could have a really positive impact on closing skills gaps in the area.

One overriding theme has been the importance of cross-cutting skills that are required across all sectors. We have grouped these into three categories: Employability (soft) skills, Digital skills and Professional skills. The detail behind these crosscutting skills will help to better prepare people for the workforce as well as enhance the skills of those already in the workforce.

Our second area of priority addresses networks and collaboration. There is already a great deal of collaboration between providers and with enhanced opportunities to share good practice, and work together on collective solutions to respond to the needs of businesses this could speed up solutions.  Employer sectoral networks could work more closely with Providers and share their knowledge and understanding about the skills needs of their specific sectors.

Thirdly, one of the best ways of enhancing the “connective tissue” between the education sector and businesses is by developing more meaningful interactions. This could be through initiatives like sharing state-of-the-art FE/HE college facilities with micro/SME businesses or creating co-working “business hubs” on college campuses.

A fourth major theme has been the challenge with how complex and difficult the skills and education system is to navigate. Accessibility of information and support would empower businesses to engage more in skills and training. Improved navigation, signposting and brokerage solutions are crucial and with access to hidden pools of talent this could really help with current recruitment difficulties.

Our final priority addresses the fact that each sector has different challenges, so it is important that Providers have access to that specific knowledge in order to respond to changing needs. This could be achieved by making it easier and clearer for businesses to know how they can be involved and what the expectations of them are.

Going forward the LSIP for Surrey and North/Mid will be used primarily by FE colleges, training providers and wider stakeholders as a strategic basis for improving the ways that the skills and education system can be more responsive to the needs of employers and the local economy.

Biggest Business Expo in Surrey!

In case people have missed it the Surrey Business Expo is taking place on the 19th April. We will be there in force alongside the Exhibition organisers, hundreds of businesses and a fantastic line up of speakers. A day spent up at the Surrey Sports Park will be very productive and we can guarantee some great opportunities to network and make new business friends. Don’t miss our sessions on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace and why it matters?; How to achieve a win/win for employers and employees, Skills & Recruitment – Meeting the needs of the future; Funding to grow your business and Key steps to handling a cyber-crisis.

The Surrey Chambers team will be there all day including the Local Skills Improvement Plan team and we look forward to seeing many of our members there!

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