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Part 3 - Skills to meet demand

We want to develop skills innovation and inclusion by working with business leaders, education, skills support, and research, development, and innovation (RDI) institutions to support the concept of an Ashfield ‘total skills solution’.

2.1 Action plan aim: Ensure there are vocational routeways into Ashfield’s high-profile sectors

What we already have and do

  • Ashfield’s Construction Training Centre (Vision West Notts College, Sutton Academy, Inspire, and Portland College’s partnership project) works with developers to provide employer-led skills to residents, promoting local construction opportunities and helping residents to access them
  • Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) offers construction specific courses e.g. the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) to allow local people to have the skills to progress into the construction industry
  • Van Elle Ltd has a training centre in Kirkby in Ashfield, where it offers courses that support residents in progressing within the construction sector 
  • The Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre (ADMC) will equip employees in these sectors with the skills required to work with automation and new technologies
  • Care4Notts works with the NHS and specialises in delivering training to progress within the healthcare sector. It can offer up-skilling provision within care organisations and deliver training, work experience, and apprenticeships for unemployed residents wanting to progress into the healthcare sector
  • The Think Ahead programme is a national pathway for postgraduate mental health social work. Training run by the Think Ahead charity
  • Ashfield’s Civil Engineering Centre (Vision West Notts College) equips residents wanting to progress into engineering with the skills required to have successful and sustainable careers in that sector. This will play an important role in developing the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway project
  • Career Changes into Teaching offers a series of programmes aimed at recruiting experienced business leaders and talented PhD graduates into teaching. National contract split between 3 national contracts: Now Teach, Transition to Teach, Researchers in Schools
  • High potential initial teacher training and leadership development Teach First programme consists of participants working as unqualified teachers in year 1, while undertaking training leading to qualified teacher status (QTS) and then as newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in the second year
  • Trackwork deliver Personal Track Safety (PTS) training – this will be imperative to support railway projects such as High Speed 2 (HS2)
  • Chartered Institute of the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) offer skills programmes to support residents in progressing into the leisure sector
  • Platinum Training Centre offer courses to help residents progress into the hair and beauty sector
  • Local universities offer degrees to progress residents into higher level positions within our high profile sectors e.g. teachers, nurses, doctors, surgeons and quantity surveyors
  • Local Enterprise Partnership (D2N2) offers sector-focused 'skills boot camps' that are free, flexible courses between 12 to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. HGV/LGV Drivers Bootcamp is available for unemployed and employed residents. These boot camps were piloted across 6 areas with national contracts available from May 2021.

What we need to do

Ensure the providers that deliver high-profile sector skills provision are working together to create a high-profile sector 'vocational routeway' for local residents:

2.1.1 Ensure that Ashfield’s Construction Training Centre is linked up with partners that focus on delivering construction sector skills provision (e.g. CITB). Ensure there is a vocational route for residents wanting to progress within the construction sector. Capture good news stories from the Construction Training Centre

2.1.2 Ensure that Ashfield’s Civil Engineering Centre is linked up with partners that focus on delivering civil engineering sector skills provision (e.g. Trackwork). Ensure there is a vocational route for residents wanting to progress within the civil engineering sector. Capture good news stories from the Civil Engineering Centre.

2.1.3 Explore the vocational route for the residents wanting to progress within the healthcare sector, through partners that focus on delivering healthcare sector skills provision (e.g. one-to-one Support Services, Care4Notts, and Think Ahead).

2.1.4 Ensure that the Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre (ADMC) is linked up with provision that focuses on skills development within the manufacturing and distribution sectors. Ensure there is a vocational route for residents wanting to progress within these sectors.

2.1.5 Discover Ashfield to ensure the career changes into teaching and Teach First programmes are embedded into Ashfield’s schools.

  • Action completed: 15 April 2024

2.2 Action plan aim: Ensure that young people are given the soft skills needed to enter the world of work

Soft skills include communication, teamwork, problem solving, time management, critical thinking, decision-making, and adaptability.

What we already have and do

  • The Prince's Trust Team Programme in Nottinghamshire offers confidence-building activities to young people in the community. This gives them the opportunity to socialise and adopt the right behaviours when progressing into employment
  • National Citizen Service gives young people the opportunity to conduct activities in the community, and adopt correct behaviours and skills that are ready for when they enter the workplace
  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Mentoring Circle initiative supports young people to build on their employability skills, confidence, motivation, and job search skills through facilitating interactions with employers and moving closer to employment by raising their aspirations and fostering a can-do approach
  • Discover Ashfield Champions are available to deliver sessions in schools, colleges, and universities. This can be on the importance of having the correct soft skills
  • The Enterprise Adviser Network (lead by Futures in Nottinghamshire) has business representatives that work with local secondary schools to help them shape their curriculum based on the needs of local businesses. This will include the importance of implementing soft skills in the workplace
  • Adult Education Training Providers offers an array of employability provision for young people that are NEET (not in employment, education, or training), which will include the adoption of soft skills in the workplace

What we need to do

Continue to explore community-based provision for young people to adopt correct behaviours and develop core skills needed to progress into employment:

2.2.4: Discover Ashfield to work with both the Primary Schools Partnership and the Secondary Schools Network, to ensure they are embedding student soft skills into their curriculum; including the engagement with external community projects (e.g. National Citizen Service and The Prince’s Trust Team Programme).

  • Action completed: 13 May 2024

2.2.7: Health and Wellbeing Partnership to lead on supporting social enterprises to bid for community-funded projects from partners such as the National Lottery, Nottinghamshire County Council, the Nottinghamshire Community Foundation, and The Key Fund. Ensure they are delivering social inclusion projects for young people in Ashfield. Promote with local schools, gather impact data of these projects, and showcase.

  • Action completed: 13 May 2024

2.2.8: Explore space availability in Ashfield’s deprived areas, in order to deliver Employment Hub outreach provision. Adult Skills Partnership to ensure they have the resource to support young people in the harder to reach communities within the Ashfield district, including the development of their employability and soft skills.

  • Action completed: 13 May 2024

2.3 Action plan aim: Ensure that employers feel empowered and are engaging with the education and skills offer including workforce development in digital upskilling

What we already have and do

  • We have a web page for support for established businesses, which includes advice on employing people and improving employee skills. Employers can view immediately which skills and employment provision is available in the local area
  • D2N2 lead the Skills Access Hub brokerage service. This service is aimed at diagnosing the skills needs of residents and businesses, and then connecting with local skills and employment provision
  • Ashfield’s Adult Skills Strategic Partnership allows businesses to join the meetings as guest speakers, in order to talk about their recruitment and skills challenges and make connections with local educational organisations
  • Succeed in Ashfield: Secondary Schools Network allows businesses to join the meetings as guest speakers in order to talk about their recruitment and skills challenges, and make connections with local secondary schools
  • Nottinghamshire County Council has a free Skills Portal available on its website. This has been created to make it easier for employers to see what skills provision is available
  • Enterprising Ashfield is a project that will be delivered from the business hub based in Sutton in Ashfield. Nottingham Trent University delivers the Support for Growth programme, enabling small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to increase growth potential, improve productivity, and create job opportunities by innovating products, processes and services, and accessing new markets
  • Enterprising Ashfield will also offer a skills programme for businesses. With a strong focus on digital skills, Nottingham Trent University will work with businesses to identify skills need. Individuals will develop their skills through a range of training and upskilling opportunities, and businesses can realise improvements in their innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.

There is a wealth of existing business employment and skills support, facilitated by various local partners:

  • We have business support social media groups, LinkedIn and Facebook Succeed in Ashfield groups, where business support schemes are posted. Members can also network and share successes
  • Ashfield businesses can access the Business Support section on this website. This contains lots of free support schemes that are available, including recruitment and skills provision
  • Ashfield District Council and the East Midlands Chamber offer grant funding and a business support service, including the delivery of free webinars and workshops.
  • Business member organisations are available, e.g. Mansfield and Ashfield 2020, Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network, Make UK, Medi-Link, Federation for Small Businesses, and East Midlands Chamber of Commerce
  • Fully-funded upskilling courses for businesses from partners such as The Skills Network, Futures, Inspire, Academy Transformation Trust Further Education (ATTFE) College, and FutureLearn.

What we need to do

To ensure each of Ashfield’s employment sectors are linked up with the sector skills training offer:

2.3.1: Ensure businesses are linked up with skills offer, available within the Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre.

2.3.3: Ensure local schools and colleges are connected with the universities that have education sector graduates.

  • Action completed: 13 May 2024

Ensure there is full awareness from businesses of digital upskilling Continuous Professional Development provision in Ashfield:

2.3.8: Engage with DBC training to ensure Ashfield businesses are engaging their workforce into the free iProgramme 2.1 provision.

  • Action completed: 21 February 2024

2.3.9: Engage with our Local Enterprise Partnership (D2N2) to ensure Ashfield businesses are accessing the Skills Bootcamps.

2.3.10: Engage with Vision West Notts College to see how many Ashfield businesses have enrolled their workforce onto new Automation and Robotics courses at the Engineering Innovation Centre.

Key skills actions to help businesses overcome recruitment and skills challenges within the district:

2.3.12: Ensure there is enough fully funded digital marketing provision available for employers.

2.3.14: Explore how employers can have more involvement with colleges and universities.

2.3.15: Develop the membership of local employers into Ashfield District Council’s Succeed in Ashfield social media platforms and local business networking events.

2.3.16: Work with partners to make languages provision available for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as unemployed adults. Virtual delivery allows businesses to work with international partners.

2.3.17: Work with partners to help more businesses create and develop a website and/or e-commerce platform. Opportunity to 'level up' in the digital age and access new markets. Through grant funding/training programmes.