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People, Employment and Skills in 2021

Cumbria LEP’s People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group (PESSG) has two roles.

  • It is the is the thematic arm of the Cumbria LEP Board for all employment, education and skills related issues and provides advice and recommendations to the LEP Board on future investment in line with the current and future needs of the Cumbrian economy; and
  • the Skills Advisory Panel for Cumbria – a role established by Department for Education for each LEP across England

Chaired by Mike Smith OBE, LEP Board Member, the PESSG brings together leaders from across the Cumbria’s high quality, responsive skills system and employers to provide a strong leadership role on skills in Cumbria, develop a clear understanding of current and future local skills needs and the local labour market, as well as the present employment and skills support.

The PESSG has a number of priorities which include:

  • Making the best use of available talent;
  • Develop and retain higher level skills;
  • Create the future workforce and skills to meet the needs of our economy;
  • Develop out future leader and managers; and
  • Address worklessness and youth unemployment

The PESSG has developed and implemented a number of skills responses to address these priorities, including:

  • Skills Support for the workforce – The Edge in Cumbria provides skills support for employers to develop their future workforce;
  • Skills Support for unemployed – a range of programmes designed to help unemployed residents find employment opportunities across the County;
  • Support for young people not in education, employment or training;
  • Cumbria Careers Hub – a community of practice, with schools, Colleges and employers working together to deliver high quality careers education to young people;

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging for all aspects of the Cumbrian economy, including the skills system across the County.

The PESSG has continued to work to promote opportunities for employment and skills support during this challenging time, including:

  • Cumbria Opportunities – a website bringing together employment and skills opportunities across the County.
  • Work Experience – Cumbria Careers Hub is working in partnership with a number of employers and Speakers for Schools to develop and deliver a programme of high quality virtual experience to ensure that young people across Cumbria can gain experience with employers at a time when work experience needs to be very different from the traditional model. This will be co-ordinated with other partners and any employers interested being part of this project can contact the LEP’s Head of Skills, Craig Ivison –
  • Skills Support for Unemployed – Cumbria has seen unemployment rates rise significantly over the last few months. The development of the Jobs Fuse programme in Cumbria has brought together a range of skills and careers guidance support for individuals looking for work, and for employers making changes to their workforce. Details can be found here.
  • In addition to these projects the PESSG in promoting a range of other opportunities available to support employers and individuals access the support they need to build skills, careers and employment including:
    • Kickstart – a programme to support young people into employment;
    • Apprenticeships – Cumbria continues to have a strong Apprenticeship programme;
    • T Levels – high level technical qualifications available across a range of sectors

The PESSG will continue to review the skills offer required and over the next three months will produce a Local Skills Report which will clearly identify existing local skills and employment challenges, and key areas of future needs relating to projected local employment growth areas.

The Local Skills Report will enable the PESSG to lead the co-ordination of local skills responses and inform investments made in the skills system. If any employers would like to contribute to its development by providing information or intelligence on skills gaps and/or the skills offer please contact Cumbria LEP’s Head of Skills, Craig Ivison –

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