Businesses urged to share skills for success at regional focus groups

Fay Daniels
Marketing Manager - Contracts | Business West
6th September 2023

Businesses in the West of England, Swindon & Wiltshire and Gloucestershire are being encouraged to share their views on skills needs in their industry, to feed into the Local Skills Improvement Plans and create positive change for the future economy.  

Colleges and further education providers are training the future workforce”, says Matt Tudge, Head of Skills Planning at Business West, “and we want to hear from businesses at the heart of each sector, to find out more about what skills they need now, and in the future, to ensure they continue to thrive and grow.

There’s a lot of brilliant programmes out there already – we want to map out what is already available, amplify it across the relevant region, simplify access to businesses and build on provision so it aligns with business needs.” 

Business West will be hosting a range of interactive focus groups, both online and face-to-face, to find out more about the skills needs of businesses, focusing on key themes and sectors.  

“The sectors we’re focusing on in Stage Two of the LSIP projects include, Construction, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, Health, Social Care and Life Sciences, Creative Industries, Digital Industries, Agriculture, Agritech and Land Management, and Automotive, Transport, Logistics and Infrastructure”, explains Matt. “We will also be ‘deep diving’ into themes including AI and Net Zero, which were mentioned in Stage One of the LSIP research, as areas which needed particular attention.” 

Businesses across the three regions can join the focus groups for free and, afterwards, they will receive recommendations for services and support, from partners and further education providers in their local area, that can help them with any challenges they bring up during the sessions.  

Matt continues, “It’s a great chance, as a business, to voice your opinion on what is really needed within your sector, to keep up with new technologies and modern ways of working. You can help shape the future of your industry, and you will also take away recommendations to help with your own challenges and skills needs in your business.” 

LSIP focus groups are already taking bookings, with each one focussing on a particular area of each sector. You can browse all the events and book your place here.  

The LSIPs are projects funded by the Department for Education and will run until 2025. The aim is to gather research into business needs in a particular region, and working together with further education, training providers and stakeholders, set out the key priorities and changes needed to ensure post-16 technical education better aligns with business needs. 

Findings from Stage One of the research have already been released and you can find reports for the West of England, Swindon & Wiltshire and Gloucestershire by clicking the relevant link. 

If you have any questions about the LSIPs, you can get in touch with the team at Business West by emailing the team. 

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    We have published a set of questions and answers that have been frequently asked about Business West and the West of England, Gloucestershire and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Skills Improvement Plans.

  • The Business West LSIP focus group was time really well spent. It was attended by a really interesting, diverse group of businesses, all experiencing their own issues and having questions around the journey to Net Zero. The discussions and suggestions that came out of it were both thought provoking and informative – and everything was skilfully managed, captured and summarised by the LSIP team. I am sure the programme will lead to useful skills insights.
    Sue Skeats
    Founder, 100 Ways in 100 Days