The West Yorkshire Skills Partnership brings together senior leaders from universities, FE colleges and independent training providers to influence skills policy strategy, globally, nationally and locally.
At the ‘Skills For West Yorkshire’ conference on Thursday 1 July, the partnership was unveiled to over 300 delegates by its Chair, Nav Chohan, Principal of Shipley College.
He said, “In line with the shift to a Mayoral Combined Authority, we needed to take a strong, purposeful step forward and reflect the changes to geography and funding systems. The new partnership enables key education and training institutions to collectively contribute to policy development and play a key role in their delivery in order to grow skills in this region.
“Our members’ knowledge and experience is essential to the success of this region’s economic growth. This partnership allows a clear voice to represent the skills industry and our colleagues in government will have a direct route to our expertise.”
The core members of the partnership include the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges, West Yorkshire Learning Providers and Yorkshire Universities. But the partnership engages with wider representation including the voluntary sector, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and industry bodies.
The former Leeds City Region Skills Network was formed in 2012. A Partnership Agreement was signed between all FE colleges, universities, independent training providers and the LEP.
Training providers have worked tirelessly to engage with employers and representative bodies over the last nine years. This work has allowed a better understanding of the region’s training needs and to feed in practical guidance to government about the opportunities that exist.
The partnership will continue to work with employers and collectively respond to their needs at a strategic level.
At its second virtual conference, the new brand and Terms of Reference were outlined by Nav Chohan. He explained that the members will meet quarterly, to better understand the challenges and operational realities of skills delivery. Decisions and strategic direction on skills will be agreed and cascaded to relevant networks. The partnership will continue to provide the LEP’s Employment and Skills Panel with insight, best practice and creative solutions to meet inclusive growth ambitions in the region.
Skills for West Yorkshire
Thursday 1 July 2021 - 9.30am - 1pm
Registration is now closed
This year's annual Leeds City Region Skills Network conference includes presentations from a number of key regional figures and organisations including the newly-elected West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and recently Knighted Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL.
This conference will feature live question and answer sessions, networking opportunities and discussion boards to engage with hundreds of delegates with an interest in skills development in the region.
The Leeds City Region Skills Network represents HE, FE, private and voluntary sector skills providers from across Leeds City Region. We work together to meet the needs of employers and the city region economy. This year we will be sharing our refreshed approach to skills and collaboration which aligns to both the Skills for Jobs white paper and the impact of our new West Yorkshire Mayor.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to use our late registration process.
They will be presenting a blueprint for an adult skills and training system that meets the needs and challenges of the 21st century.
As we emerge from COVID-19, levelling up and building a resilient economy means creating a forward-looking skills system, that works for employers, individuals and training providers.
Building on evidence gathered through extensive review of the current skills and training landscape, the blueprint for a Future-Ready Skills System will set out a series of practical measures to create a devolved skills system based on the needs of the people, businesses and local economies it is intended to serve.
Policy recommendations will cover bold and innovative approaches to funding, careers advice, labour market information, delivery and governance.
They will put the power and responsibility for skills and training provision in the hands of those best placed to put this into action and ensure that employers can recruit the talent they need, individuals can better access opportunities that will lead to more resilient, flexible and dynamic local labour markets that work for all.
The Future-Ready Skills Commission is an independent, national commission supported by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and made up of experts and leading thinkers from business, education, local government and think tanks.
Its primary scope is to understand how the skills system, from post-16 education through to adult skills and career development, could be shaped to better meet the needs of local economies with greater devolution across England, while meeting future challenges and opportunities in the workplace.
Joining information, agenda and speakers to be confirmed - register here
Businesses across the Leeds City Region can now benefit from a wide range of funded training options through the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) and its training partners.
The Higher Performing Workplaces project aims to support businesses to grow through developing internal talent. Launched in April 2020, an extensive range of training programmes are now available with 40% funding towards the cost from the European Social Fund (ESF)*. But the project goes beyond training, offering fully funded peer to peer group sessions and part-funded mentoring programmes to help individuals lead recovery and growth.
SMEs in the region can now book onto fully funded (free) 'Peer to Peer' group sessions to help get ‘Back in Business’ in the current challenging environment. Business owners, leaders, senior managers, and key decision makers will have the opportunity to discuss challenges together. A qualified facilitator will lead the group to overcome barriers, explore challenges and learn from peers in a supportive, confidential environment.
The first of the virtual peer to peer sessions is on Tuesday 1 September and can be booked via Eventbrite.
Joanne Patrickson, Project Director at the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges said,
“We know that the current situation can make business managers and leaders feel isolated. We want to offer them a chance to come together to support one another. These sessions will allow individuals to connect with like-minded business people from across our region to share experiences and ideas to get back on the road to business growth.
“We’re giving SMEs the opportunity to solve issues with their peers and action-plan to take their business forward in a changing economy, at no cost to them. Each session will be facilitated by a highly qualified coach, who will support and encourage solution-based discussions.”
Higher Performing Workplaces is managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and funded by the European Social Fund.
*To be eligible for HPW funding businesses must be based in one of the following districts: Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield or York and the business must be an SME: employ fewer than 250 full time equivalent staff and have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million.
Attendees of the annual Leeds City Region Skills Network conference heard from key figures in the region and networked with others in the industry using a new digital conference platform provided by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges in July.
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11, opened the regional session by paying tribute to all aspects of the skills sector for ensuring that people have continued to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roger – “It’s always been important that we have a skilled and flexible workforce to drive the economy and it’s even more important now as we contemplate the recovery for the region.”
Roger also discussed the importance of inclusivity within the skills sector and the region’s economy. This was reiterated by other speakers, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe (Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority) and Rashik Parmar (IBM Fellow and Vice President Technology).
(left to right - Roger Marsh OBE, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Rashik Parmar MBE - LCRSN conference 2020)
The West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) decided it was pertinent to continue with the regional conference despite COVID-19 restrictions, moving it online and making it more accessible to a wider audience. Using virtual event technology, WYCC provided an app through which delegates could network with each other via virtual meet ups and message boards.
The app also provided delegates with a digital agenda, speaker profiles, polls and live Q&A. The new technology was a first for most attendees and it provided a way of connecting with each other whilst viewing a mixture of live and pre-recorded content at their own pace.
Nav Chohan, Chair of the Leeds City Region Skills Network and WYCC – “It was a bold move to opt for an online environment for the conference, using a platform that was new to most people. But the point of the conference, bringing members of the skills provider network together, was achieved. In this brave new world, perhaps this is the future.”
300 people registered to attend the conference, making it the biggest one yet, proving the current appetite to work together and develop the region’s skills at this difficult time.
Louise Tearle, Partnership Director at the WYCC – “We were very pleased to be able to host the 10th annual conference, which despite all the challenges, brought together the largest number of people yet to discuss how to achieve the shared ambition of improving the skills of individuals and businesses, and support the economic recovery.”
In a pre-conference survey, delegates were asked to share their thoughts on the skills most needed by employers in the Leeds City Region:
With change and resilience being a hot topic in the skills sector at the time, WYCC invited keynote speaker Jim Lawless to deliver an exciting session on making “Bold Change Fast” in order to stay resilient. Jim drew on his past experiences in using his own rapid change techniques to beat records and push boundaries, showing how this could be applied in the skills sector to adapt to the changing landscape.
The Leeds City Region Skills Network conference was organised by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) and funded by the European Social Fund. WYCC provided an update on their projects, which support employers and skills providers in the region with funding, training and advice. For more information on these projects visit www.westyorkshirecolleges.ac.uk