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

Many thanks to the hundreds of you throughout the county who have been contributing!

Our report has now been submitted to the Department for Education for evaluation and is available to view here: Local Skills Improvement Plan (PDF)

In producing this work the Chamber and a range of other employer bodies and industry specialists have engaged with hundreds of employers countywide, employer bodies, providers and other stakeholders. Activity has included both primary research (surveys, 1-2-1 discussions, focus groups) and secondary research. This includes drawing on other studies commissioned by the DfE and others, slightly earlier or in parallel.

DfE are clear that these are intended to be live documents, reflecting rolling activity, not a once and for all position. The intention is to continue progressing some of these activities over the coming months and then look in depth at some other sectors and revisit energy post the national roll out later in the year. So moving forward there will be more opportunities to get involved.

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 haven’t started from scratch, the LSIP builds on the work that’s already been undertaken, not least by the SAP.

What sectors and skills does the LSIP cover?

We’re 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’ve had to focus on a small number of priorities for the more in-depth activity. These are: built economy, care, landbased, manufacturing and energy and the visitor economy.

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 have been a range of opportunities to get involved during the pilot so far. through:

  • Responding to online surveys (shared through ERBs and publicised widely)
  • Focus groups
  • 1-2-1 interviews

As highlighted above, there’s now an opportunity to comment on the draft issues and actions tables.

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

Contact the LSIP project team via or