The UK Government is ceding greater responsibility for delivering a range of services to the local level. The logic is that local actors are better placed to identify local priorities. This raises the issue of how local skills systems – including further education and apprenticeship providers, schools, universities, employers, local authorities and associated agencies, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the voluntary sector – can work better.
Skills funded through the adult skills budget will, over coming years, increasingly fall under the control of combined authorities. This raises the question of how local areas with responsibility for meeting adult skills needs will they ensure that local supply can meet local demand?
The Local Skills Case Study is designed to help understand the way in which local-national and local-local collaborative working needs to develop if it is to enhance skill development in England. The research entailed:
identifying how selected other countries have devolved their skills and employment policy to local or regional levels;undertaking a local case study of the Black Country in the West Midlands to understand how a local skills system works and the opportunities and challenges key actors face;development of a framework to be used as a tool allowing local actors to use their combined local knowledge to answer key questions about their context, drivers for change and desired outcomes, in order to enable them to more effectively deliver local skills to meet local needs.