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West Midlands Plan for Growth

Develop Future Skill Pathway

Clear, private sector-led cluster leadership which ensures that any direct competitive funding is targeted to latest business needs. The Economic Growth Board will use the Plan for Growth to streamline and strengthen cluster leadership including providing support to bodies like Create Central and Midlands Aerospace Alliance that lever additional investment. The cluster profiles in section 4 explain how private sector cluster leadership aligns

with specialist regional capacity on trade, foreign direct investment and innovation.

  • A Trailblazer Devolution Deal to provide more powers and resources for economic activities, including linking ambitious new fiscal powers and securing further investment for the Global West Midlands programme, including better connected strategic relationship management with major businesses.
  • The post-pandemic recovery has created a tight labour market and for the first time in the West Midlands, job vacancies outstrip the number of those looking for work. Developing our residents’ skills delivers more inclusive growth by maximising their earnings potential, and it is also good for the economy as a whole as it helps the region’s firms to undertake more complex, higher value-added work – particularly across the West Midlands Plan for Growth clusters.
  • The WMCA has significant powers and funding which can be targeted to develop future skills pathways across the clusters – covering skilled new entrants to those clusters and upskilling current employees to transition to the new challenges and opportunities.
  • This leadership role would be further bolstered by powers and resources that we hope to secure from the Trailblazer Devolution Deal. The region is seeking leadership of a West Midlands Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIPs) which will better connect business priorities and the supply of technical and vocational training.This will span areas where we have already taken a leadership role and seek to deepen our impact, including:
  • The £150 million p.a. adult skills funding devolved to the region to upskill and retrain both the future and current workforce. This funding is used to ensure that we have a workforce that can grow the economy and maximise inward investment opportunities. To bring a sharper focus to skills needs of industry, we have adopted a sectoral approach to ensure skills training is relevant and accessible through our provider network made up of colleges, universities and independent training providers.
  • Technical training pathways that we have co-designed with employers and providers. These have focused on those seeking to upskill or retrain in areas including digital, retrofit and net zero which directly relate to the Plan for Growth cluster priorities. Through digital bootcamps, we have brought to market a cross sectoral solution for clusters that includes disciplines of AI, data analysis, software, coding and cyber.

  • Apprenticeships, where in driving their uptake by SMEs, we have already developed an apprenticeship levy transfer service generating £37.5 million of donations with large employers. This service means SMEs in Plan for Growth cluster supply chains can access apprenticeship training at reduced cost to both secure future talent and upskill the current workforce.

  • Commissioning power for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund’s theme on ‘people’ and the Multiply programme to increase adult numeracy skills. This will increase access for under- represented groups, including over 50s and people from minority groups with the skills needed for growing clusters, as well as targeting leadership and management training to help businesses thrive.

  • Developing higher skills offers with universities and colleges through modular training. This training aligned to clusters to support growth will develop knowledge, skills and behaviours in both upskilling and retraining of the current workforce.

  • Through negotiation in our Trailblazer Devolution Deal we are seeking further powers that will enable:

  • Greater influence over post-16 technical and vocational education and how this meets the needs of the local economy and residents
  • A new approach to co-commissioning employment support provision in the region to ensure that programmes respond quickly and effectively to local labour market challenges, and better meet the needs of residents, businesses and local economies.
  • An all-age West Midlands Careers Service supporting residents to make informed decisions about careers, better work and the pathways into existing and emerging opportunities