Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) across England “are working and beginning to make positive differences for local employers”, according to a new report commissioned by the British Chambers of Commerce. 

Based on evidence from 21 of the 32 chamber led LSIPs, the evaluation report concludes that the process is changing attitudes and encouraging more employers to collaborate and engage positively with the skills system.

As part of its budget submission, the BCC is calling on the Government to commit to fund business led LSIPs beyond the current 2025 cut off point, to at least 2028.

Read the full report here.

The study highlights the “huge potential of LSIPs to build on the employer led system, improve strategic planning, maximise the impact of skills funding and boost employer investment.”

Using research conducted in Autumn 2023, the report analyses the approaches taken by 21 chamber-led LSIPs, and identifies their impact so far. Data gathered as part of the research show that, as of May 2023, 65,765 employers had been engaged. 

The research identifies a number of challenges for businesses, including “bureaucratic complexities” and “limited employer influence over skills spending priorities”. The report says overcoming the barriers requires “active engagement, open communication, and the advocacy of Chambers to smooth over the bumps in the LSIPs process”

The report argues that the LSIP approach will lead to a more cohesive skills system.

Jane Gratton, Deputy Director Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“Business-led Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) are only just getting started – but they are already making a huge difference. 

“The local approach to skills planning brings huge benefits. Now we need a long-term commitment from politicians to make sure we can align skills investment with local economic growth, and help more people access the training they need for great jobs. 

“Our report highlights how the Chamber network is playing an important role in bringing employers and training providers together at a local level, to identify solutions and plan for change. 

“If we get it right, the potential of LSIPs is phenomenal. It is an ongoing process that identifies business growth ambitions, the people and skills they need to achieve that growth, and the training needed for people to benefit from these opportunities. We need the LSIPs to stay business led, and to remain a key part of the government’s long-term skills strategy. Without that commitment – the hard work already achieved risks being undermined.”

Geoff Mason, Project Lead of the Lancashire LSIP said:

“The work done so far in Lancashire has seen employers of all sizes across a wide range of sectors getting involved. This includes many who feel removed from the skills system and without close relationships with providers.

“As a long-standing representative of the business community, the Chambers in Lancashire have been trusted by employers to work on their behalf and act as a bridge between them and providers.

“To see so many businesses, especially smaller companies, starting to get involved in conversations around skills and develop a greater understanding of the skills system and their own needs, is a great start. Providers are already responding to those needs and changes are already starting to be seen in delivery.

“Skills gaps and recruitment issues are long-term problems. Any solution also needs to be long-term in order to clear established barriers and to keep up-to-date with the rapidly changing skills landscape.”

Lancashire’s LSIP is led by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce working in partnership with East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

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In partnership with

Lancashire Local Skills Improvement Plan
North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
Department for Education

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