Education & Skills


Education & Skills

Education & Skills

Skills Stakeholders

The following are a list of "offers to LEPs" from skills stakeholders (listed alphabetically). Please click on the logo to be taken to their website, or click the links to download the information about how they can assist LEPs deliver their skills agenda:



AELP's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here




 CASCAID'S offer to LEPs can be downloaded here


CogniSoft's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.



The Education & Training Foundation's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.




The Employment Related Service Association (ersa) offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.



Gatsby's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


Jisc's offer to LEPs can be downloaded, in both summary and in more detail.


Lloyds Banking Group's work in the area of careers advice - "Discover What Matters" - can be downloaded here.



National Centre for Universities & Business (NCUB) offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.



National Numeracy's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


Natspec's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


Oxford Cambridge and RSA (OCR) offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


   PDMS Employed's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


Prospects' offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.



PwC's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.



Rathbone's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


SFA's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.




STEMNET's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


UKCES's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


Union Learn's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


 Workers’ Educational Association's offer to LEPs can be downloaded here.


For other skills information, please scroll through the tabs below ....

LEP Skills meeting - 28th April 2016

The LEP Network facilitated a skills workshop for Local Enterrpsie Partnerships (LEPs) and government colleagues on 28th April 2016.

A summary note of the meeting is available here and the following information was presented at the meeting:


  1. Apprenticeship Levy - presented by Lisa Pearce, Business Innovation & Skills
  2. Apprenticeship Business Support Service - presented by Joe Billington, Skills Funding Agency.
  3. Funding Localism - information on the Adult Education Budget, was shared after the meeting from Kirsty Evans, Skills Funding Agency.
  4. Area Reviews - presented by Warwick Sharp, Department for Education.
  5. Area Review Best Practice - information from Greater Manchester.
  6. Fuller Working Lives - information from Lis Robson, Department for Work & Pensions. The sector-based work academies document is available.
  7. Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy - presented by Catherine De Marco, Department for Transport. A summary of the strategy is available for download here.
  8. West of England - best practice sharing from Adam Powell, West of England LEP.

LEP Skills meeting - 11th Jan. 2016

Below are the papers that were circulated in advance of the LEP skills meeting on 11th January 2016, or presented at the meeting.


Prior to the meeting the SFA shared a summary of the Apprenticeship programme.

The SFA ran through the presentation English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision in the meeting.


Area Review:

Prior to the meeting BIS shared the following papers to ensure all LEPs were up to speed with the information. The papers were:

The FE Commissioner’s Autumn Letter to the Sector - October 2015

LEP Data Analysis Guidance & Proforma - November 2015

Minister’s Termly Letter - December 2015

Annex to Minister’s Termly Letter - December 2015

BIS Skills Funding Letter 2016 to 2017 - December 2015

Area Review - LEPs brief - January 2016

If you have any questions about the above, please contact the LEP Network.

The Departments for Education and Business, Innovation and Skills have announced they will facilitate a programme of area-based reviews to review 16+ provision in every area, and do so quickly. 

In the document 'Reviewing post-16 Education and Training Institutions', these reviews will provide an opportunity for institutions and localities to restructure their provision to ensure it is tailored to the changing context and designed to achieve maximum impact.

Each review will be led by a steering group composed of a range of stakeholders within the area; likely members include the chairs of governors of each institution, the FE and Sixth Form College Commissioners, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Regional Schools Commissioners. 

The focus will be on FE and sixth-form colleges, although the availability and quality of all post-16 academic and work-based provision in each area will also be taken into account. 

ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation & Arbitration Service) provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. Good relationships between employers and employees underpin business success, and Acas can help you get policies and processes right. But when things go wrong they also provide conciliation to resolve workplace problems.

ACAS has identified seven levers for workplace productivity. This practical framework explains how workplaces can unlock their potential to be more productive. In Building Productivity in the UK, ACAS open the debate wider. Based on discussions with a range of employers, employees, their representatives, and other thought leaders, as well as ACAS' own extensive experience of providing practical solutions to tackling workplace improvement, they set out key markers for each of the above to help employers know if they are getting it right. In this report ACAS propose a framework which could go some way to addressing the UK's 'Productivity Puzzle'. ACAS are encouraging businesses to join their LinkedIn Group (Acasorguk) and be part of the debate.

ACAS' key services:

  • Advice and support to improve organisational performance and quality of working life - through the free Helpline (0300 123 1100) and Helpline Online services.
  • Development of statutory and non-statutory Codes of Practice and guidance to help employers, for example on how to write an employment contract or handle discipline and grievance.
  • Good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers.
  • Free online training through the Acas Learning OnLine site; and a range of online and self-diagnosis tools.
  • Free dispute resolution services: anybody planning to lodge a claim with the Employment Tribunal must first notify Acas who will help both sides reach a mutually acceptable solution; and collective conciliation services to help employers and employees' representatives (Trade Unions) to reach agreement on issues affecting groups of employees, such as pay, and terms and conditions.
  • Support for organisations tp set up their own mediation schemes so staff become accredited internal mediators.
UKCES (the UK Commission for Employment & Skills) and AoC (the Association of Colleges) have launched a joint report 'Local action, national success: how outcome agreements can improve skills delivery'.
This report looks to widen the debate on how skills needs can be best met in local areas, and proposes that local partners come together to develop outcome agreements which will better link skills provision with employer demand.
Skills shortages can then be identified and addressed more effectively, leading to better growth prospects for the whole area.
The report calls for greater consideration of Outcome Agreements, which are collectively written agreements which identify skills needs in a local area and the solutions to address them. The ultimate aim behind these agreements is that education and training provision effectively delivers the skills the local economy requires.
At a time when devolution is high on the policy agenda, this report provides a timely focus on the roles of local actors – employers, colleges and local organisations - in shaping skills provision.

The ‘Guide to the Skills System’ publication has been issued by the Skills Commission, an independent group of leading experts and opinion formers from the education and skills sector, with ten years in researching skills and further education to help form crucial policies.

The Skills Commission is seeking to place FE and skills centre stage in this Parliament given it has not had the prominence it deserves. This bite-size document makes the skills system digestible, accessible and will aid MPs in better engaging with policy over the course of Parliament. It will assist them to make the best possible policy decisions in this key area.

The Commission warns that unless policymakers are able to view the skills system holistically we will not be able to build the skills system our industries and enterprises need and the public deserves.

Aimed at Parliamentarians and their researchers, as well as the wider policymaking community, the Guide contains: 

o  Six key messages for reform in this Parliament to provide better understanding for better policy making:

  • Ensure stability in the system
  • Adopt greater systems thinking
  • Improve the policy process
  • Enhance quality and confidence
  • Boost employer engagement
  •  Ensure fair and sustainable funding


o  A short history of skills looking at past skills policy and comparing key bodies, funding structures and regulators 

o  An overview of the skills system with maps and infographics on qualifications, funding, learner numbers and more

o  A policy review of the last five years from 2010-15

At present the UK faces growing social and economic challenges that the FE sector is well positioned to address. The Commission, however, is concerned that unless due attention is given to the role of the skills system in this Parliament, important opportunities to address Britain’s lagging productivity, and declining rates of social mobility, may be missed.

Research and guides like this are critical to ensuring the future of FE and meeting the challenges of creating a skills system fit for the 21st century.

The Department for Work and Pensions are sharing with LEPs instructions on how to pull data from the Labour Force Survey etc. from NOMIS and to populate the attached excel spread sheet to support them to understand their demographics.

Download instructions on how to glean data, using a spread sheet as a template for LEPs to populate which will support their evidence base and an example from Stoke and Staffordshire LEP showing how LEPs can interpret this data.

STEMNET (the Science Engineering Technology and Mathematics Network) creates opportunities to inspire young people about STEM and support the development of these skills through working with thousands of employers and schools.

STEM Ambassadors offer young people real world applications for STEM subjects and hands-on activities to bring learning and career opportunities to life. More than 28,000 inspirational role models from industry volunteer as STEM Ambassadors. Each year 90% of UK secondary schools access STEM Ambassadors.

Find out more about STEM Ambassadors.

LEPs can get in touch via STEMNET’s 45 local contact points that offer local knowledge and support to teachers and information to business about engaging with local schools and colleges.

LEADERSHIP AND LOCALISM is a project commissioned and supported by the Education and Training Foundation led by HOLEX in close partnership with the 157 Group

March 2015: This is the latest update arising from our examination of how the localism agenda has evolved so far, what part education and training providers are playing in that process, and what lessons can be drawn from their experience to date. We have used fieldwork findings from three “demonstration sites” (Bristol, Manchester and Leeds), issues raised in two national invitation seminars and wider evidence to better inform and prepare providers in all parts of the country, and of all types, as devolution picks up pace. This bulletin highlights emerging observations, and follows completion of fieldwork and our second national seminar.

The project is deliberately viewing developments through two lenses: to understand how those in the education and training sector can better influence the formulation and implementation of locality-focused policies and priorities; and to gain an understanding of the sector leadership styles and workforce skills that will be required as new ways of local working become evident.

The findings will be set against the perspectives outlined in recent work, also supported by the Foundation, on Excellence in Leadership, namely:

  • Vision, values and culture

  • Working with others

  • System Leadership

  • Knowledge and Competence

  • Personal Leadership Qualities

  • Adapting and Innovating.

Findings to date indicate that there is a wealth of work being undertaken by education and training providers of all types as part of the localism agenda, and that there is a commitment to growing the scope and quality of this work. There is however some lack of awareness below the level of strategic leaders, and not all parts of the sector are as yet working collaboratively to present a unified “offer” and to take best and most efficient advantage of opportunities identified. There is also acknowledgment that national constraints still hinder local efforts, and some frustration that national imperatives dominate even the local agenda. There have been requests for support from FE providers to enhance the confidence and competence of the sector in meeting the challenges of localism, and we are currently working on generating some tools that we hope will help.

Our enquiry-based project will be reporting to the Education and Training Foundation in coming weeks, after which we expect to be in a position to share summary findings and the practical tools we are developing. In the meantime, we are still open to receiving comments, and evidence of local practice, both from providers and key local stakeholders such as the local authority, employers, the LEP, and wider community representatives. It would be extremely helpful if you have any comments under the perspective headings above – issues / ideas and solutions. It will also help us and ETF if you have specific support requests that you believe will enhance your work in this area.

If you have views to share, please e-mail before the end of March.


February 2015 ...

The recent Skills Funding Agency publication Local Enterprise Partnerships: Increasing their influence on skills budgets carries important messages for education and training providers as well as clarifying ways in which LEPs can influence and exert control over skills provision. It is also extremely timely for work currently underway on leading learning in local areas, commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation and due to report at the end of March 2015.

The Leadership and Localism project led by HOLEX (the national network of local adult learning providers), working in close partnership with the 157 Group of colleges, will be conducting over 40 interviews, discussions and workshops in Bristol, Leeds and Manchester in the next fortnight, and will be sharing emerging observations from this fieldwork at an invitation seminar being held on 9 March. Our consultants, Shared Service Architects, will be targeting both education and training providers of all types and key local stakeholders, in cases bringing them together for joint sessions. We have also accepted invitations to speak at locally planned strategic fora, including a Mayoral inquiry day in Bristol and a meeting of the Leeds City Council Sustainable Economy and Culture Board.

Whereas the SFA paper addresses structural issues including procurement, accountability and funding allocations, the Leadership and Localism project is principally focused on education and training provider strategic leadership, capacity and positioning – the intention being to contribute to increasing the sector’s responsiveness to local priorities.

Project fieldwork will research current and planned developments through two lenses: to understand how those in the education and training sector can influence the formulation and implementation of locality- focused policies and priorities; and to gain an understanding of the sector leadership styles and workforce skills that will be required as new ways of local working become evident. We have developed two lead questions:

  • How and why have the strategic bodies, policy formers, FE providers and other stakeholders come together to co-determine the localised agenda?

  • How is your organisation, as an education and training provider, responding to the new localised skills agenda

The project welcomes views on these issues from those outside our three demonstration sites, to augment fieldwork findings. If you have a contribution to make, please write to project timescales mean we need to receive comments, please, by no later than Monday 16 March.

Enquiry-based evidence is intended to inform our development of advisory materials which can be shared across the education and training sector nationally, and HOLEX and 157 are working with the other main sector representative bodies, including AoC, AELP and TSNLA, to ensure the relevance and usefulness of what we generate. Our work is also being tested and validated by a number of influential national organisations with an interest in localism policy, including the LEP Network itself, where SEMLEP is acting as our primary conduit.

On 30th March 2015, Ofqual published their latest corporate plan, detailing their comprehensive programme of work, comprising three goals and eight objectives, to fulfil their statutory duties over the period 2015-18. 

Alongside the corporate plan, Ofqual also published their regulatory strategy and regulatory burden statements. The regulatory strategy statement explains the expectations of organisations that Ofqual regulate, and the tools and methodologies they will use to gain assurance these organisations are offering valid qualifications.

Ofqual published the regulatory burden statement in order to fulfil their requirement under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills' (UKCES) Growth Through People report provides a comprehensive review of the current state of the UK labour market, identifying the key issues and challenges currently facing the employment and skills system in the UK.
The report also includes a supplementary report, giving further information on the High Performance Working analysis used to identify the business categories contained within the report.
NIACE have produced a report that identifies a number of proposals to improve progression in the UK. 
This paper aims to commence a serious dialogue about the current state of the welfare and skills systems and includes proposals to ensure better support for aspiration at both national and local level, particularly for the growing number of people whose wages haven’t risen in years, or those who want to retrain for a new career.  
Within the paper NIACE argue for a new National Advancement Service, helping 500,000 families in low pay by 2020 through a more personalised package of support to build their career and boost their earnings. NIACE believe that this would give low paid workers a place to go for help to get on, going a long way to rebuilding the link between doing the right thing, and getting the help they need.  In line with strict fiscal constraints NIACE have argued that the National Advancement Service should be funded by refocusing £100m of existing budgets.  In England, we are calling for up to £50m of the National Careers Service (NCS) together with up to £50m per year to be top sliced from the adult skills budget, by 2020.
Central to the success of NIACE's proposal is the role of the Local Enterprise Partnerships to embed this activity alongside their existing employment and skills activities. NIACE are proposing that the service would be managed by a prime provider in each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) who would be responsible for bringing together a wide partnership of providers (community groups, Housing Associations, learning and skills providers, advice services etc) together.  The model also allows for LEPs to top up support through, for example, European Social Fund (ESF) funding thereby helping to integrate support with other local services, such as money advice and business support. Local areas could also spearhead the new service, piloting it using their ESF allocations.
The report can be downloaded here.

The Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards (FISSS) represent the 18 Sector Skills Councils and 4 Sector Skills Bodies who work with over 550,000 employers to define skills needs and skills standards in their industry. FISSS also works with over 7,500 training providers and c.500,000 Apprentices in England, Scotland and Wales to provide them with their final Apprenticeship Certificate. Download this leaflet to find out how FISSS provides unique resources for LEP skills strategy development, and also visit for more information.

LEP leaflet

Keeping up with digital innovation, and improving the digital skills of both the current and future workforce is vital, in order for the UK to remain at the forefront of global innovation and future proof our economy.

‘A study carried out on behalf of O2 towards the end of 2013 found that Britain will need 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017 – and if we can't support that growth, it could result in costing the UK as much as £2bn each year.’

The extent of the UK’s digital skills gap is a growing concern - we need to do much more to protect our growing technology industries and the increasing use of technology in all sectors so we can equip the UK workforce for life in a globalised economy.

Estimates from the Science Council suggest that the ICT workforce will grow by 39 per cent by 2030, and research by City & Guilds conducted last year revealed that three quarters of employers in the IT, Digital and Information Services Sector said that their industry was facing a skills gap, while 47 per cent of employers surveyed said that the education system wasn’t currently meeting the needs of business. 

At Jisc, we're in a good position to help LEPs with this challenge. We have a wealth of knowledge and resources that can boost digital skills development and support organisational management and change.

We want to engage and support individual LEP’s ambitions for the Education and Skills Sector, working collaboratively to develop solutions that improve the digital skills of learners and meet local employer needs. 

Download more information or Contact Sue Attewell on

The Secretary of State at BIS has written to the Skills Funding Agency CEO, Peter Lauener, who has in turn written to the sector (Colleges, training organisations and employers providing apprenticeships & adult skills training), about the priorities and funding for the 2015/2016 financial year.

Individual allocations to providers will go out week commencing 16th March 2015.

One or two budgets may go out the following week, in case there are any further devolution announcements in the budget (announced on 18th March) that the SFA would need to accommodate.

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has set out how they will work with the Government to ensure that commitments made in the Local Growth Deals announced in July 2014 (Local Growth Deals) will be met through the skills funding system.

Policies, guidance and frameworks supporting LEPs’ aspirations for influence and control over skills provision were embedded in government’s overarching commitment on skills included in the Local Growth Deals.

Government committed, through the SFA, to support the process to ensure that provision meets local priorities and that increasing responsiveness is delivered through a three-pronged approach involving procurement, accountability and allocations and intervention.

Government also committed to set out revised information for LEPs on how they can take advantage of this approach and options for seeking advice if provision is not responsive to their needs. The SFA is now meeting this commitment by publishing this information on how LEPs can influence the use of all skills budgets in their localities, and the steps they can take if they are dissatisfied with the pattern of delivery

Additionally, Government stated that it will seek to improve the provision of skills data for LEPs and will develop and publish new reports that will quantify and assess responsiveness to local skills needs. Through work linked to this document the SFA is providing all LEPs on a regular basis with data that informs them about the provision delivered in their areas.

The SFA is committed to work with LEPs to enable them to influence the use of all skills budgets in their localities, to support them in engagement with the skills sector and demonstrate to them the actions available if they are dissatisfied with the pattern of delivery

Many of the powers, freedoms and flexibilities required by LEPs are available through existing approaches and interpretations of current policy and guidance.

You can download the document here.

The Department for Education have published the VCS National Prospectus 2015-16, which will provide grant funding of up to £25m.

It is open to voluntary and community sector organisations, social enterprises and others bidding on a not-for-profit basis

The Department for Education would like to ensure LEPs have had the opportunity to view the VCS National Prospectus and specifically, they may wish to pay particular attention to the SEN section.

More broadly they are inviting applicants to submit proposals for innovative approaches to improving outcomes for children and their families in seven key policy themes:

  • early education and childcare
  • special educational needs and disability
  • children’s mental health
  • safeguarding children
  • children in care
  • adoption
  • family advice and support

Further information can be found on the Contract Finder website. Proposals should be submitted to the Department by noon on 21 November.

Questions about the process can be submitted until 30 October via this email address:

They will be holding a briefing event on 28 October in London (venue details to be confirmed) to provide more information about the grant programme. You can register for a place by e-mailing by 22 October.

Higher Education Institutions are some of the key local partners working with LEPs to drive local and national economic growth. Thanks to Universities UK you can download a table which lists the HEIs in each LEP area.