West Midlands skills performance falters

The Observatory has published this year’s review of West Midlands skills performance .

Our summary skills index based on a range of measures (such as GVA per employee, investment in training, and qualification attainment amongst young people and adults) reveals the West Midlands skills performance has begun to widen again, from 1.1 points in 2007 to 2.3 points in 2009. As a result the West Midlands has dropped from 5th to 6th place in the league table of regions.

Skills performance index for West Midlands and England between 2005 and 2009

Continue reading

Advertisements

Young people in Birmingham and West Midlands go for Creative & Media Diploma

Four students gathered around a laptop

Recent data released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families shows that learner participation in the new 14–19 Diplomas in the West Midlands is focused on the Creative & Media course so far.

The 14–19 Diploma is a new qualification which takes two years to complete. Young people can do it at school or college and it combines practical experience with class learning, and is focused on a specific vocational area.

Continue reading

Developing a high growth knowledge economy in the West Midlands

Laboratory at Micropathology Ltd, Warwick Science ParkKnowledge intensive industries rely on innovation and knowledge to gain competitive advantage and, although the sector has grown rapidly in recent years, the West Midlands has struggled to attract these activities.

Through a state of the region dialogue on the West Midlands’ knowledge economy (pdf, 383kb), the Observatory has identified a range of actions to address this, developed and agreed by a range of policy makers, researchers and academics.

Continue reading

Worcestershire awarded grant to promote intergenerational volunteering

FamilyWorcestershire has been awarded part of a £5.5 million grant as part of a cross-government scheme to promote intergenerational volunteering. The Generations Together campaign aims to encourage meaningful interaction between young and old generations across the region.

Over the next two years £386,800 will be available for Worcestershire’s transferable skills project. This project aims to provide more than 700 community project volunteers, both young and old, with additional skills to encourage greater understanding between generations, challenge negative stereotypes and increase interaction between different age groups.

Continue reading

Investment in higher level skills needed to kick start the region’s recovery

Person sat next to computer screens at Serious Games Institute, Coventry UniversityInvestment in higher level skills is vital to kick start the region’s recovery from recession but the proportion of the workforce qualified to degree level or above is well below the national average, particularly in the private sector.

New research (pdf, 258kb) by the West Midlands Regional Observatory shows that overall investment in skills and training is holding up despite the recession.

In the first quarter of 2009, three quarters of manufacturing firms and 80% of service sector firms were planning to either increase or maintain levels of spending on training despite the recession – in both cases the second highest proportion in England.

Continue reading

Britain’s got (hidden) talent

Open advantage computer room in BirminghamNew reseach has shown that two-thirds of UK workers with specialist skills are not using them in their professional careers.

The Western European Location Skills Audit undertaken by Oxford Intelligence covered eight ‘hard-to-find’ skill sets in ten countries.

The research showed that the UK ranks first in the Location Skills Index and either first or second in Technical IT, Engineering, Financial Services and Food Technologies.

Continue reading

A new approach to skills for sustainable communities

Cover of The Egan Review skills for sustainable communitiesIn 2004 the Egan Review started the discussion around skills for sustainable communities.

The Review aimed to identify the skills necessary, and any potential skill gaps, to deliver successful, sustainable communities.

The review recommended:

To encourage people into built environment professions and other core occupations; address gateway educational needs by working with employers, professional and academic institutions; address professional development needs; enable continuous development and review; and manage knowledge for those in associated and wider public groups.

However, two assumptions underline these recommendations:

  1. Qualifications and skills are equivalent
  2. Once you have learned a new set of skills (or achieved a qualification) you will practice the knowledge acquired.

I understand these assumptions are practical in terms of the analysis but could we say they are realistic?

Continue reading