West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

7 August 2020

Multiple sectors engaged through Let’s Talk Real Skills collaboration

The Let’s Talk Real Skills project aims to improve skills provision in the Leeds City Region through a strong collaborative approach with sectors, industry groups, Further and Higher Education institutes.

The WYCC Skills Associates have been busy establishing Collaborative Skills Partnerships within a variety of sectors and have just published the latest updates on the project's progress on a sector by sector basis.

Collaborative Skills Partnerships (CSPs) are groups of representatives who are specialists in their industry or skills provision. CSPs meet to discuss skills ideas for their sector to make sure the ideas work from both an educational and industry (employer) perspective. As part of Let's Talk Real Skills, they come together on a regular basis to ultimately create new skills provision that’s both relevant and sustainable. The project is managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and funded by the European Social Fund.


Work is well underway for the construction CSP after a meeting led by Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield Colleges and Leeds College of building involved employers NG Bailey alongside CEG, CECA and CITB. Skills Associate Brydie Lund said it was fantastic to share ideas, discuss the current provision available and create a plan to explore 'high risk' occupations. A second CSP is taking place in September, for which employers and intermediaries have been engaged to gain understanding of top skills needed going forward, keeping Covid-19 in mind. Meetings are being arranged with employers and their input will guide the direction of the project’s pilots.


Employers, industry groups and partner colleges are gearing up for the very first creative sector CSP. Already, discussions are taking place about the effect Covid-19 has had on the sector and how it will continue to impact in the present and future. Jas Hayre, Skills Associate leading on the creative sector, is excited to discuss in-demand skills with the group and to encourage ideas for training to help lift the sector through the current challenging environment.


The latest digital CSP is due to take place in August, following a successful first round back in May. The upcoming CSP will focus on the needs of SMEs and how the pandemic has affected these businesses. It will examine what the digital sector needs in terms of skills in the future and how the pandemic has affected this. Skills Associate, Jeremy Boye, has been conducting surveys with a number of businesses and is looking forward to the sharing the findings along with intelligence sharing that can take place between the colleges, universities and employers involved.

Involvement so far from: Bradford College, Calderdale College, Leeds City College, Leeds College of Building, Shipley College, Wakefield College, Leeds Trinity University, Bobble Digital, DXW Digital, Enjoy Digital and Hippo Digital.

Film and TV Production

Skills Associate, Jas Hayre, has engaged with Screen Yorkshire to identify key players within the industry to enable a productive CSP to take place within the near future. Similarly to the creative sector, film and TV has not been exempt from issues presented by the pandemic and the CSP will delve in to how training and skills can support recovery.

Health and Social Care

The first CSP meeting will be taking place following the summer break in September 2020, with John Rees, Principal at Calderdale College, as Chair. The Skills Associate working on this sector, Oscar Turner McKinnel, is engaging stakeholders to ensure the project is responsive and sensitive to the ongoing developments regarding Covid-19 as the health and social care sector has been significantly affected. Oscar has enjoyed working with Bradford College, Calderdale College, Kirklees College, Leeds City College, Shipley College and Wakefield College to engage with the sector and have meaningful discussions.

Key stakeholders involved are Skills for Care, Skills for Health, Health Education England, GP Alliance, The Academic Health Science Network and West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care Systems. The project has also benefited from the support of Leeds Beckett University, the University of Leeds and Bradford University.

Low Carbon

Skills Associate Brydie Lund has worked with Leeds College of Building to organise the first low carbon CSP meeting for September. Brydie and those involved in the project have worked with the LEP and the LGA, following a report that was published in June highlighting the projects and skills needed to meet government legislation to reduce each region’s carbon footprint. The CSP hopes this will guide the project with its forecast of the skills needed in order to pilot training and skills interventions.


The first Collaborative Skills Partnership for manufacturing took place in April and a number of exciting business proposals have been set in motion. The ideas currently being discussed include the development for glass manufacturing/processing, a pilot project in additive manufacturing (3D Printing) with Kirklees College and a robotics course is in development with Leeds City College. WYCC has identified SMEs who can share their views on skills needs within the sector. Skills Associate, Bryony Cooper, is the WYCC lead on this sector and is looking forward to the next CSP scheduled for late August. WYCC will be presenting an update on LTRS for an online employer forum hosted by the Science and Media museum in September which is an excellent opportunity to engage with businesses and showcase the way we can support the sector.


Working in partnership with Bradford College, Skills Associate Michaela Young is in preparations for the first medtech CSP. Bradford College will be collaborating with Bradford University to make the most of the project, showcasing the opportunities to work together to engage SMEs in the sector. The CSP is aiming to take place in late September / early October.


Another sector led by Skills Associate Brydie Lund, two CSP meetings have already taken place and a third is in the works for August. Throughout lockdown those involved in the project rolled out a campaign to introduce rail employers in the Leeds City Region to LTRS. The response has been great and a number of businesses in the rail sector will be involved in the CSP and action learning forums. We’re pleased to have employers Redstone Rail and Platinum Rail on board for the CSP alongside Kirklees College, Leeds College of Building and Shipley College.

If you're an employer, general interested party or education provider and would like to be involved in the project, please get in touch to see how we can work together.

Employers - why get involved? Find out in our LTRS Employer Leaflet

Let’s Talk Real Skills is managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and funded by the European Social Fund.


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