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Berks LEP lays out plans to lead revival

Summary addresses challenges such as skills shortages and hard-to-fill job vacancies

Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has published its Skills Priority Statement Executive Summary.

It identifies the LEP’s priorities for investment in employment and skills initiatives that will maintain the competitiveness of Berkshire’s economy, raise productivity and improve the wellbeing of the local population.

However, as Berkshire responds to the coronavirus pandemic, the LEP and its partners are taking actions and decisions to get the area back on track and lead in a local economic recovery.

The summary has been adapted in light of Covid-19 to become a vital resource for local businesses, further and higher education institutions, business organisations and local authorities, that supports their skills programmes with high level, but also localised data, knowledge and solutions that can be utilised when discussing the skills agenda in Berkshire.

The summary highlights Berkshire’s strength as a knowledge-intensive economy, with 49.3 per cent of employees qualified to degree level or higher, compared to the national average of 39 per cent.

It also addresses challenges such as skills shortages for STEM-related roles and the 5,600 hard-to-fill job vacancies present within Berkshire.

The summary also emphasises the launch of the new skills portal – Berkshire Opportunities – designed to combat the employment and skills challenges faced by residents now as a result of Covid-19 and in the future.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP chief executive Alison Webster said: “The skills priority statement is a great strategic resource for education providers, skills support organisations and businesses in Berkshire.

“Our training providers and education settings can use it to inform their curriculum planning and businesses will find it beneficial to assist them in making informed workforce planning and decisions, and help identify key areas for training and continuing professional development investment.

“Our action plan strategises how to prepare the workforce of tomorrow, both new entrants and those already in the labour market, ensuring skills are effectively utilised and kept up-to-date.

“This will ensure that Berkshire remains resilient in the face of current and forthcoming skills challenges and is well positioned to capitalise on future opportunities.

“I’m delighted to also formally launch the Berkshire Opportunities portal which will be a valuable resource to help anyone of any age in Berkshire who is looking for work, training and retraining or learning.”

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