The Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) is a new initiative from the Department for Education, currently being piloted by eight Chambers of Commerce nationally, of which Cumbria Chamber is one.

What is the Local Skills Improvement Plan?

LSIPs are employer-led and locally owned, with the Trailblazer pilots testing how employer-led skills planning and shaping can best be delivered in practice.

LSIPs will provide a clear, robust and meaningful articulation of local employer skills needs and set out the priority changes needed to help deliver the skills employers need to operate successfully and boost productivity, plus help individuals to get good jobs and progress their careers.

They will set out the key changes needed to make skills provision more responsive to the changing needs of employers and the local economy by:

  • Bringing employers and providers directly together to break down information barriers and reach a common understanding of employer skills needs and the key priorities for changes in provision to better meet them
  • Ensuring a better match between the supply of and demand for the skills employers most need to thrive and boost productivity
  • Enabling greater collaboration both between providers and between providers and employers in reshaping provision in line with the key priorities, as well as working with local partners to drive demand for these skills and better utilise them
  • Addressing barriers to progression, especially those facing the adult workforce in accessing high quality, flexible and joined-up provision to upskill and reskill quickly
  • Recognising that improving the supply of skills must be accompanied by demand side measures that drive greater employer engagement and investment in skills, good workforce management and better utilisation of skills within businesses

LSIPs won’t involve ERBS having funding or commissioning powers. But they will mean that when planning their provision, providers will have the benefit of evidence-based and credibly articulated priorities from local employers.

As well as identifying needs and issues the LSIP will set out proposed actions to improve the capacity and capability of local provision collectively to deliver the skills employers have identified, together with allied measures to drive demand for these skills and better utilise them.

We’re not starting from scratch, we’ll be building on the work that’s already been undertaken, not least by the SAP.#

*December Update*

The skills survey which has just launched.

The survey starts to explore the current state of learning and skills provision in the county, how this measures up against what employers are being offered, and the main strengths and weaknesses identified. The research is also looking at the new and emerging skills provision that will be needed, especially in areas such as carbon reduction, net zero, greening and retrofit of the built economy. This will be combined with information from other research and data sources, as well as focus groups and 1-2-1 interviews that we’ll be rolling out around the county.

So, as a first stage, we’re asking for your help in completing a short survey that should take no longer than 10 minutes of your time. Your views as an employer are essential in helping build a picture of skills and training provision and needs in Cumbria, and we hope that you will be keen to help.

Click here to take part in the survey:

What sectors and skills will the LSIP cover?

We’ll be covering the range of sectors and skills across the county as far as we can, but given the short timescale available for the pilot we will need to focus on a small number of priorities for the more in-depth activity.

Who should be involved?

While LSIPs are employer-led, they’re certainly not about employer representative bodies (ERBs) or employers working alone. If we’re truly going to make this work in the best interests of Cumbria, then the range of stakeholders need to work actively and constructively together, in this pilot stage and moving forward.

So we’re keen for everyone with an interest in skills to be actively involved:

  • Employers or all sizes and sectors, throughout the county (whether members of an organisation or not)
  • Employer representative bodies, local business groups and networks and professional organisations
  • Intermediaries and business support providers
  • FE Colleges, independent training providers, universities and other providers of relevant post-16 technical education and training
  • Local authorities and the LEP, including the Skills Advisory Panel
  • Jobcentre Plus and CIAG providers
  • Sector groups and centres of innovation
  • Groups and organisations who can help build understanding of the needs of employees and learners and the barriers they face, including those from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds as well as those with special educational needs and disabilities.

This isn’t an exhaustive list so if you don’t think you fit into the above list but have something to contribute please get in touch!

How can you get involved?

There will be lots of opportunities to get involved during the pilot through:

  • Responding to online surveys (which will be shared through ERBs and publicised widely)
  • Focus groups
  • 1-2-1 interviews
  • Skills Summit
  • Commenting on the draft plan

We’ll be sharing more information on this page as the LSIP activity progresses.

How to make sure you’re involved

We’ll be coming out directly through our database with opportunities to engage. So to make sure you get the chance to contribute, whether you’re an employer or another stakeholder, then make sure we, or one of our partner ERBs, have your contact details.

If you’re up for potentially being involved in a focus group or interview, or you think you have something specific to contribute, please email

Who are our ERB partners?

ERB partners working with us on the LSIP are:

  • British Energy Coast Business Cluster
  • CBI
  • CITB
  • CLA
  • Cumbria Tourism
  • Farmer Network
  • NFU

Who to contact

Adam Wellings, LSIP Project Manager at