Key findings for West Midlands from National Employer Skills Survey 2009

Cover of report National Employers Skills Survey 2009 report - key findings for West Midlands regionThanks to  Sam Richardson from the Young People’s Learning Agency (formerly of Learning and Skills Council West Midlands) for contributing this post.

A report on key findings for the West Midlands (pdf, 1mb) from the National Employer Skills Survey 2009 was published in March.

The survey consisted of just over 79,000 telephone interviews (8,186 in the West Midlands) with employers across England (the largest number to date) between March and July 2009.

It represents by far the largest and most comprehensive source of information on current skills issues affecting employers in England.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills previously published a summary of national findings.

A more comprehensive description of the national results will be available in a full report due June 2010 (after the election). The survey data is available for exploration and data mining at http://nessdata.ukces.org.uk.

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Future of the West Midlands

The future of the West Midlands reportAt the end of January, I attended and spoke at an interesting event to launch a new report The Future of the West Midlands (pdf, 361kb).

The Smith Institute, an independent social and economic research think tank based in London, organised the event.

The report aims to raise the level of debate about the future of the West Midlands and highlight what policy changes are needed to make a real and lasting difference to the region.

With the forthcoming reforms to regional and local government through the sub national review, this debate is very timely and gains an added significance.

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New research on labour market and training experiences of older workers in the West Midlands

lsc-older-workers-reportResearch commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council shows that employers in the West Midlands are increasingly aware of the benefits of older job applicants when searching for recruits with personal qualities such as loyalty, experience and reliability.

Other perceived advantages include practical issues such as better retention, fewer training needs, and fewer family and childcare commitments.

There are nearly one million people aged over 50 still of normal working age in the West Midlands, out of a total population of more than five million.

The study, Labour Market and Training Experiences of Older Workers in the West Midlands (PDF, 800kb), aims to inform future learning and skills policy so that the regional economy derives maximum benefit from this age cohort and individuals in it have access to opportunities that enable them to continue to fulfil their potential.

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Creative and media sector skills review

Earlier this year, the Learning & Skills Council undertook a review of skills supply and demand for the creative and media sector in the West Midlands.

Amongst other interesting findings, the review found that employers perceive graduates to lack market-based experience and ‘job readiness’, suggesting that the education sector is struggling to link skills development with economic development to a sufficient degree.

An issue for learners and employers alike also exists due to the ‘oversupply of a myriad of courses’ which results in unclear progression routes for learners and confusion of the ‘value’ of different qualifications for both learners and employers.

The review highlights the opportunities that could potentially be provided to the sector through apprenticeships. Continue reading