Join the plan to improve local skills

A call to action is today being issued to both employers and educators to get involved in a game-changing initiative to transform Yorkshire’s economy by addressing its skill shortages.  

With skill shortages having continually topped the priority list for businesses and public organisations large and small across the region, a new network is being formed to bring together businesses, the public sector, universities, colleges and training providers to deliver a skills agenda that meets the needs of the economies of West and North Yorkshire.  

Figures from the Learning and Work Institute (L&W) show that the UK skills shortage will cost the country £120 billion by 2030 and statistics published by the British Chamber of Commerce this year showed that the majority of service sector (65 per cent) and manufacturing firms (79 per cent) experienced difficulties in identifying and acquiring the right candidates. 

The Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIPS), funded by the Department for Education, aims to address this by putting the voice of local employers at the centre of the learning and skills system to build a stronger partnership between employers and further education providers. 

In making skills provision and education more attuned to the needs of the region’s economy, LSIPs can deliver a demand-led agenda that will help transform the region’s workforce. 

The aim is to make provision more responsive to employers’ needs and help address issues with staffing and productivity across the region.  

With the skill requirements of a SME in Wakefield or Leeds likely to be far different from a market town in North Yorkshire, the new system will help tailor training in accordance with these individual needs. 

The LSIPs are being administered jointly by both the West & North Yorkshire and Mid-Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce who are now calling for both the private and educational sectors to step forward and join the programme so that both young people entering the workforce, and those currently in employment, have the tools they need to play a full role in the region’s economy. 

James Mason, chief executive of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Even prior to the pandemic, businesses have been struggling to find the best talent to drive their firms forward. This has kept productivity low and hampered growth.  

“With LSIPs, we can change all of this. Government has approved our two bids to administer the programmes in both West and North Yorkshire. 

“We now want to become the convening point that brings together both the educational and employment sector to begin discussing how we can deliver a skills agenda that is both designed and delivered here in Yorkshire to meet our own needs. 

“We want to hear from as many voices as possible so do not miss out on your chance to be part of this new era for the region’s economy.” 

Martin Hathaway, managing director of Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “For years businesses have been lamenting the paucity of skill levels in our workforce. Now we have an historic opportunity to empower our workforces and employers with the tools they need to thrive in a modern economy.  

“Now is your chance to be part of this journey and we look forward to working with you to deliver this vision.” 

Justin Kerslake, operations director for Bradford-based manufacturer Christeyns UK,said:  

“As a longstanding manufacturing business in Bradford, Christeyns understands the need for quality, local training to upskill its workforce. We are committed to providing training opportunities for all our staff and recognise that our employees are our main asset and the future of the business.   

“The company sees the industrial landscape being transformed daily by digitalisation and the reinvention of processes to meet the essential sustainability agenda.  In order to remain competitive, we need a workforce that is ahead of the game and future ready. 

“We are encouraged that the Chamber has been awarded this contract which will help young people gain the skills they need to make choices and further their own careers, whilst supporting the growth of our local businesses and the prosperity of the region.” 

To get involved in the LSIPs programme in West and North Yorkshire email: 

For further information contact Mark Casci on 

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