The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) is to deliver an employer-led, local skills plan, across Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

The Government’s skills for jobs white paper set out the blueprint for reshaping the technical skills system to better meet the needs of employers and the wider economy.

As part of this new approach, the Department for Education set aside £20.9m to create Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) in 38 areas across the UK. The aim is to forge a stronger and more dynamic partnership between employers and further education providers that will enable provision to be more responsive to the skills needs of employers in local labour markets.

Being employer-led, LSIPs are uniquely placed to highlight the skills employers need most in the workplace. LSIPs will provide an agreed set of actionable priorities that employers, providers and stakeholders in a local area can get behind to drive change.

The first phase of this is to develop a programme plan for submission and sign off by the Secretary of State, before moving into the delivery phase by late October. Once in place, it is envisaged this will be reviewed on an annual basis whilst broadening the engagement to further leverage the impact of the LSIP.

Paul Butler, CEO, NEAA said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to build upon the excellent work the NEAA and stakeholders have done in this space to date. The NEAA has been an active participant in many regional and national groups and established excellent relationships with many Employer Representative Bodies (ERBs), employers and providers across the North East LSIP area, which includes Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland, in relation to the skills needs of the automotive sector.

“We look forward to deepening that engagement and working closely to establish an evidence-based, credible, actionable plan, that will set out the key changes needed to make technical skills training more responsive to employers’ needs and help people to develop the skills they need to get good jobs and increase prospects.”

The government has also announced a new local skills improvement fund to be introduced in 2023-24 for providers to collaborate and collectively respond to the skills priorities their LSIP says is needed.