People & Skills

Skills attainment is at the heart of the GBSLEP Strategic Economic Plan.

We must not only address systemic problems with skills attainment, that affect the productivity of our key sectors and businesses, we must also focus on skills as the catalyst to economic recovery, equipping employers with the appropriately skilled workforce they need to thrive in the future.

With the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, and an uncertain post-Brexit future, we must use all our resources to identify the skills needs we face, and must address, to ensure our economy is best placed to take advantage of the opportunities that will also present. 


We will drive productivity and growth of the GBSLEP economy, with a focus on our key growth sectors, by identifying areas of growth and opportunity and addressing associated local skills needs, through co-investment and collaborative working. We retain our long-term ambition of accelerating the increase in our skilled workforce to ensure the gap between our skills levels at least matches the national levels and meets increasing employer demand for higher skilled labour. This has never been more important than now and as such skills shortages act as a brake on our economic growth and productivity.

We are implementing a range of initiatives to ensure we upskill at least 10,000 more people each year at NVQ level 3 (A Level) and above to meet these targets. At GBSLEP such initiatives include:

  • A Skills and Apprenticeship Hub designed to work directly with businesses to increase the uptake of training programmes to directly improve business performance. The Hub provides a one stop shop to all skills and apprenticeship services available for employers to directly improve productivity and performance. A totally bespoke and demand-led service, bringing advice, support, provision and funding under one umbrella, the Hub also now houses GBSLEP’s Plan for Jobs initiatives including the Kickstart scheme;
  • Development of a capital build skills pipeline of projects to regenerate our learning infrastructure across the GBSLEP area. This includes the creation of an Institute of Technology, new local STEM and STEAM centres and the build of new state of the art facilities to specifically meet skills needs in growth areas;
  • Working with Higher Education institutions to design a programme to attract and retain more graduates in the area and ensure their progression into appropriate employment after university;
  • Creation of sector industry/education partnerships to ensure the routeways to work are open at all levels. This includes developing our Science and Industry Partnership to bring business, academia and the public sector together to support our key Health Technologies sector. Only the fourth such Partnership in the country our Health Tech SIP will work to influence policy and develop sector specific interventions at the West Midlands level;
  • Development of sector careers pathways to support education (including school) leavers into their chosen career opportunity. We are developing key partnerships to improve careers advice, work experience opportunities and pathways into high skilled and meaningful employment opportunities with national partners and employers, to ensure our young people are inspired by the world of work and can access he opportunities it presents;
  • Delivery of identified skills specifically needed to meet the challenges of today and the needs of tomorrow – such as high-level digital skills, including through our virtual digital skills academy which sees provision of digital and data related skills to Level 7 in the Business, Professional and Financial Services sector.

This is not an exhaustive list and we will continue to develop and fine-tune our initiatives and activity areas to meet the skills needs of our local economy and react to the current economic situation to ensure future success and prosperity. In delivering this key agenda, by addressing the skills issues we have faced for so long across the GBSLEP area, while meeting the new economic challenges and uncertainty we face, we will ensure an economy that not only recovers and thrives but is also robust and resilient to future shocks, and is best placed to take advantage of the opportunities the future holds.