While our vision is big, there are many things local and national partners can do now to make the best of provision, by collaborating more effectively. That’s why we established the LGA Skills Taskforce (see first 632), which has now held a second roundtable bringing together industry experts, sector representatives and elected members interested in making our skills and employment system more effective.
Our latest discussions focused on careers and retraining for a changing local economy. A clear and coherent careers system is essential to help young people and adults navigate the world of learning and work. However, the system is confusing with a range of providers and initiatives being delivered in any one local area. For young people, it is complex and fragmented. It is also critical for adults who want (or need) to progress or retrain, yet awareness of the National Careers Service among adults is low and access limited.
The consensus of the roundtable attendees was that careers advice needs improvement, more coherence and should be ‘locally rooted’ to maximise connections.
We also considered post-16 pathways. Government reforms to raise the quality of vocational and technical education are welcome. It is critical that young people develop the skills needed to secure sustained, skilled employment, and that meet the needs of our changing economy. However, there is a risk that different pathways are being developed in ‘silos’. Whether you are a young person, a parent or an employer, a coherent and well-communicated offer is critical, but no-one is currently responsible for developing or coordinating this locally.
We concluded that post-16 reforms are not being done in a coordinated or coherent way, and no-one has oversight of how it all fits together. There is merit in an integrated post-16 offer being developed and communicated locally.
The roundtable also considered apprenticeships and adult learning. You can read its conclusions in full at www.local.gov.uk/skills-taskforce