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News From The Chamber

Welcome to the latest news and updates from the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, your hub for business insights, events, and developments in the Cumbria region.

Local Skills Improvement Plan Update from Suzanne Caldwell

Find out about what our LSIP team and partners have been up to over the past few months, working to address skills challenges.

The latest on the Chamber’s LSIP work and other skills-focused initiatives

It’s been a busy few months for our LSIP team here at the Chamber and LSIP partners as we work to support employers and towards addressing the skills challenges faced by businesses in our county. It’s fantastic to see the changes that this work is bringing about, further details on which are provided below.

The success of Chamber-led LSIPs like ours has been recognised in a recent report commissioned by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The report states that LSIPs ‘are beginning to make a positive difference for local employers’. Based on evidence from 21 of the 32 Chamber-led LSIPs, the report concludes that the process is changing attitudes and encouraging more employers to collaborate and engage positively with the skills system. As part of its budget submission, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) are calling on the UK Government to commit to fund business-led LSIPs beyond the current 2025 cut off point to at least 2028. You can read the report here.

Our Annual LSIP Progress Report was due to be published on 30th June. This has now been postponed until after the General Election. The Department for Education has published the following statement clarifying this:

The development and publication of an annual LSIP Progress Report which involves employers, skills providers and other stakeholders and covers what has been achieved and what still needs to happen at a local level, is a key tenet of the LSIP programme. Our Progress Report was due to be published on 30 June along with the Progress Reports from other local areas across the country and supported by national communications . As the 30 June now falls in the pre-election period the Department for Education (DfE) has asked us to postpone publication of our Progress Report until after the General Election. This is in line with a lot of government funded publication activity during this time.  A revised date for publication will be set out by DfE in due course. In the meantime, our operational work to implement the LSIP continues.

The following is a round-up of some of the activity that’s been happening over the past few weeks:

  • Promoting and explaining training options, funding sources and pathways to employers (including Bootcamps)
  • Visiting schools, colleges and providers to engage students in career and learning opportunities and employer needs
  • Supporting the employer-led development of an advanced manufacturing apprenticeship pathway.
  • Working with businesses and other stakeholders on recruitment/retention challenges
  • Chamber events on key areas of focus including AI and Automation, customer service and sustainability

Partnership activity and work underway by partners:

  • Collaborating with the University of Cumbria on retaining students in the county post-study e.g. through linking them with businesses
  • Supporting development of the Land & Nature Skills Service (LANSS) a new service connecting people with learning and training opportunities in the land and nature-based sector, due for launch in September this year, with the full LANSS team now in place. Farmer Network are also part of the LANSS governing board. 
  • Engaging with organisations such as We are People First and Lakes College on how we can assist future employees with special needs into the workforce sustainably
  • Hosting a “virtual tour” for Susan Acland-Hood, the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education in collaboration with Cumbria Tourism, Lakes College and local employers including Oxley Developments and James Walker, demonstrating how they’re working to overcome skills challenges
  • Cumbria Careers Hub’s Cumbria Careers Day was held in March, raising awareness of the vast array of career opportunities in Cumbria
  • In May, Cumbria Chamber partnered with Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Flannery, Eden Housing Association, Cumbria Careers Hub and CITB to hold a construction employers’ forum event to discuss skills and recruitment challenges that Cumbria is facing and how the sector is tackling them.
  • We also have the work ongoing that Think are doing on Cumberland employment and skills in the nuclear supply chain and beyond.
  • Carlisle College have expanded their engineering provision to deliver a Level 3 Metal Fabricator apprenticeship standard and a Level 2 Engineering Operative apprenticeship

Coming up over the next few weeks, the Chamber and other LSIP partners will be engaged in the following:

  • We are planning to hold a larger employers event with speakers on T-Levels (date tbc)
  • Focus groups will be held in the coming months for engineering, food and drinks production and social care, and on the visitor economy with Cumbria Tourism
  • Cumbria Tourism are planning to host a roundtable session at the end of June with Furness College and local hospitality employers the opportunity to share ideas around skills development, apprenticeships, adult learning opportunities and courses that would help with skills shortages in the Visitor Economy. After this roundtable, Cumbria Tourism will have hosted one with all four colleges in the county. 

To stay up to date or get involved with any of the above email Irene via: irene@cumbriachamber.co.uk


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