2009 Skills Assessment for local organisations and their sub-regions

Improving connections between local and regional evidence and policy will be crucial to the success of the forthcoming Regional Skills Strategy.

This was one message from delegates at yesterday’s dissemination event for the Observatory’s Regional Skills Assessment 2009.

A mix of Local Authority officers, higher education representatives and policy officers investigated how the extensive research undertaken by the Observatory can be used by local authorities and other organisations to plan major pieces of work such as Local Economic Assessments.

As the Skills Assessment will also inform work at regional level, including the forthcoming Regional Skills Strategy and Strategy for the West Midlands, the research can help forge links between the local and regional tiers of strategy and policy making.

Sandwell shared one example. Anecdotally, it’s believed that those achieving higher level skills move out of the borough, say to Worcestershire.

Delegates discussed how the Skills Assessment could help to evidence this and build that knowledge into regional planning.

What the Assessment means for local and sub-regional organisations

Andy Phillips from the West Midlands Regional Observatory kickstarted the event with a  presentation on what the Regional Skills Assessment 2009 means for local and sub-regional organisations:

Watch Andy’s presentation | Get PowerPoint slides (ppt, 824kb)

Some of the questions raised during the presentation included:

  • With regards to demographic data on skills, does the research refer to residency or the workplace? Does this make a difference to the findings?
  • Do some sectors require more public sector funding than others?

Using the Skills Assessment to inform policy

Dave Hill from Warwickshire County Council talked about how the Skills Assessment can be used to inform policy at local and sub-regional levels:

Watch Dave’s presentation | Get PowerPoint slide (ppt, 287kb)

Some questions and issues raised from Dave’s presentation included:

  • With regards to productivity, are we referring to Gross Value Added (GVA) or Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?
  • Do we need to be more specific with regards to which measure per head is used, as it has policy implications?

Questions and discussions

The event ended with a session for questions and discussion. Some of the actions coming out of the discussion included:

  • A need to reflect the messages of Local Economic Assessments into future Regional Skills Assessments
  • Ensuring that the new Learning and Skills structure is informed by the skills needs work
  • Possibly find ways to analyse commuting patterns, to determine how different levels of skills ‘commute’ across boundaries in and out of the region
  • How anti-poverty legislation—to close the gap between the most affluent and poorest areas—could be addressed by both the Regional Skills Assessment and Skills Strategy.

A related event highlighting areas of the Skills Assessment particularly relevant to regional and sub-regional policy makers and researchers was held on 29th January 2010 (we’ll post a roundup from the event shortly).

Related links

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