September e-Bulletin

Issue 5

Welcome to the fifth edition of this e-bulletin, updating you on development of the Essex LSIP. Further information is available on our website and you can also email us at This update includes general skills news, so please get in touch if you have any to share.


LSIP Report – Approved!


At the end of 2022, Essex Chambers were announced as the Employer Representative Body (ERB) to deliver the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for Essex. After months of engagement, research and consultation steered by LSIP Director Andy Sparks, we are pleased to say that our report has been officially approved by the Secretary of State for Education. You can now view the full report and supporting annexes on our website.

LSIP’s have been developed across England to provide employers with a voice and gain a better understanding of the skills they need locally. They aim to place employers at the heart of the system and produce innovative and dynamic arrangements education providers established. Government hopes to stimulate a new way of working which enables the system to better meet the needs of employers.

We worked with local employers, partners, educators and training providers to develop a plan that captures the skills needs for Essex, Southend and Thurrock. It identifies action-based solutions which enable local colleges and skills providers to effectively meet that need.

Key findings included identifying a lack of soft skills, with communication and problem-solving a priority for employers. Although responses showed that 58% of employers were not currently looking to invest in their own training, 61% were prepared to support training providers with company visits and work placements. So even though companies feel the pinch themselves, there is an appetite in Essex to help bridge current skills gaps, which Employers are keen to close. The survey responses and feedback are included in an annex report provided to the Department for Education (DfE) and available on our website.

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who contributed their time and feedback to our surveys and engagement events. Without these conversations, we would not have been able to identify, collate and amplify the need of Essex businesses in our employer led approach.

The DfE has also confirmed stage 2 funding to enable delivery against the LSIP report and action plan contained within it. Preparations are underway to begin delivery of proposed initiatives as laid out in the report.  We aim to make the skills landscape easier to navigate as part of this.  You can read the full press release here.

Following on from the publication of the report, we are pleased to announce that Joanne Giles has joined Essex Chamber of Commerce as LSIP Project Director. Joanne will be working alongside Andy Sparks on the implementation of Phase 2 of the LSIP.


Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) – Expression of Interest successful

It is also with pleasure that we share approval of the Expression of Interest (EOI) in Local Skills Improvement Funding (LSIF) which is aligned to the LSIP and will enable delivery against it. This will enable Harlow College, as lead applicant to work with Essex, Southend and Thurrock colleges and providers, to submit a full application for LSIF funding, which will be confirmed in the Autumn. You can view further information about the LSIF and other lead applicants.


Sector facts and figures

The Essex LSIP has a clear evidence-base, which is based on local skills and employment data, including projected growth and vacancies. Alongside employer feedback, this has informed the Essex priorities and recommendations. These are summarised above and available to view in full the report.

As part of our ongoing work with the LSIP, we have made a commitment to complete sector deep-dives. Transport and logistics will be the first deep dive, now in development and with further information due in October. If you have information on this sector you’d like to share, do let us know.


Partner updates and related news

Regular followers will be aware we share key news here. Please see below.


Essex Careers Magazine – Edition 2
We are very pleased to share that edition 2 of the Essex Careers Magazine is out. It spotlights key sectors in Essex, including health and care (West Essex), engineering and construction and demystifies key education and training routes. Do take a look here. T-Levels Thematic Review: Final report from government
T-Levels are 2-year post GCSE (Level 3) qualifications combining theoretical learning and industry placements. Government commissioned Ofsted to review them. The national picture was mixed with some positive experiences. Among issues identified were a lack of awareness, mixed student experience, mixed initial assessment, with work placements subsequently not being designed to meet student need. Employers in Essex have fed back that T-Levels are a good model although can be difficult to navigate. The employer toolkit to be developed as part of the LSIP action plan will help to address this. You can read the national report here.


Skills Accelerator Pilot: Research Evaluation
The Skills Accelerator Pilot evaluation includes research reports evaluating the skills accelerator pilot, incorporating the LSIP trailblazers and related strategic development fund (SDF). It therefore contains useful learning for delivery against this LSIP and explores areas such as immersive learning and technical training provision methods in supporting local labour market needs. You can read the reports here.


CBI: Going for Green
“Green skills” are highlighted regularly by employers and a significant priority of the Essex LSIP. If we achieve Net Zero targets, there are clear benefits to the economy, with green growth raising UK annual GDP between now and 2030. CBI have made several recommendations, which you can view here.


View previous LSIP e-Bulletins here.

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