Strategy for skills launched to help address shortage

TALK Greg Clark, the minister for cities
TALK Greg Clark, the minister for cities
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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SOLENT Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a drive to help meet the skill shortages in the region.

The government’s minister for cities, Greg Clark, gave a keynote speech at the launch of the Solent Skills Strategy.

It aims to tackle the Solent’s skills challenges across areas including developing world-class skills; transitions to employment; raising business investment in skills and developing a responsive skills and employment system.

Speakers from local businesses, further education colleges and more than 100 attendees joined Mr Clark in welcoming the new strategy at City College Southampton.

Following the event, Mr Clark said: ‘As the national economy recovers and we seek to create employment opportunities through initiatives such as City Deals and Growth Deals, it is going to be increasingly important to ensure that we have a skilled labour market in the UK that can take advantage of this growth.

‘Many of these opportunities will require higher level skills and, increasingly, expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects, which makes it critically important that we address skills gaps in our workforce as soon as possible.

‘Skills is therefore an issue right at the heart of local growth and I am delighted to see the Solent tackling this head on with the strategy they have published.’

Sarah McCarthy-Fry, chairwoman of the LEP’s Solent Employment and Skills Board and former MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘Ensuring our economy has the skills it needs to prosper is one of the biggest challenges the Solent faces.

‘Therefore, I believe that this skills strategy will be the foundation supporting all of the LEP’s work to develop the region’s economy.

‘It is fantastic to have such support not only from the business and education community but from the very highest level, with the minister showing his backing for the LEP’s approach.’