Further Education Training Providers across West Midlands and Warwickshire unveil new one stop shop for employers

Working with other Colleges and training providers across the West Midlands and Warwickshire Dudley College of Technology is delighted to announce the launch of a new  brand, website and advertising campaign which creates a one stop shop for employers and their workforce.

Known as Skills West Midlands and Warwickshire (Skills WM+W), the one stop shop for employers is part of the Local Skills and Improvement Plan (LSIP) with funding through the Department for Education’s Local Skills and Improvement Fund (LSIF).

Alongside the launch of Skills WM+W, a report reveals detailed research and analysis into the opportunities and challenges around skills in four priority growth sectors: construction, engineering and manufacturing, digital and ICT and logistics and distribution. The full report is available to read on our website.

As part of this new development post 16 education and training providers promise to put employers at the heart of the skills planning process, so businesses have the people and skills they need to innovate, grow and thrive. And critically Skills WM+W has the potential to transform the way colleges engage with employers, delivering a more agile and responsive service that better aligns with employer needs. With this new way of working training providers hope to play an even bigger part in the region’s growth story.

Backed by a multi-channel advertising campaign the message for employers from the FE sector is that “we’ve made your business our business.” And employers have been invited to voice their opinions on the new offer through a series of engagement events across the West Midlands and Warwickshire which will be held at the MAC in Birmingham, Warwick Racecourse and The BCIMO Centre in the Black Country on Thursday 20th March.

Commenting on the launch , Suzie Branch-Haddow of Birmingham Metropolitan College and lead project manager of Skills WM +W said:

“Skills West Midlands and Warwickshire is a regional growth strategy.”

“Many colleges and training providers are working well with employers. They tell us they are largely satisfied with the technical skills taught in colleges. But we need to go deeper, harder and faster.”

“Skills WM+W is our statement of intent that will see us work better together and engage even deeper with employers. We have listened and this is the first chance to show employers what we are doing. It is massive step up for our sector and not without its challenges in a competitive market.”

“We know the jobs are there; the growth potential is there. But there are serious challenges, not least in addressing acute labour shortages right now and real problems with soft and essential skills.”

“This is a big opportunity. I hope employers will recognise that we see their business as our business.”

Further education already takes a central role in supporting skills development across the region. It comprises 70 providers and teaches around 120,000 students. However, the role of FE amongst a significant number of employers is either unknown or misunderstood. 

The insight report from Whitecap Consulting provides comprehensive analysis on the four priority growth sectors with mapping of the entire curriculum in these areas and in-depth 1-1 discussions with decision-makers across a range of employers. It spells out where there are acute labour and skills shortages, which industries face the challenge of ageing workforces and highlights the issue of poorly equipped entry level recruits who struggle with ‘soft’ and essential skills.

Skills West Midlands and Warwickshire is set to deliver on the Local Skills Improvement Plan published in 2023 which laid out a clear roadmap. The plan revealed around 74% of regional employers had not worked with post-16 education and training providers in the last five years. Around 90% of employers in Whitecap’s latest research said they want to know more about what the sector can offer and showed a clear appetite to be more involved in shaping training provision.

This latest stage of the Plan’s delivery aims to answer the call in Whitecap’s research for a streamlined and effective single point of engagement, with a united brand and website.

A copy of the insights report can be found on the website www.skillswmw.com.

Posted by Dudley Sixth on 18th March 2024