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Chambers Lead Successful Start to Local Skills Plans

A recent report, initiated by the British Chambers of Commerce, underscores the effectiveness of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) in England, revealing positive outcomes for local employers. The evaluation, based on 21 LSIPs led by Chambers, including Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers of Commerce, highlights a shift in attitudes and increased collaboration among employers in their engagement with the skills system.

Read the full report here

In a bid to sustain this progress, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, alongside the British Chamber of Commerce, urges the Government to commit to funding business-led LSIPs beyond the current 2025 cutoff, extending support until at least 2028. The report emphasizes the substantial potential of LSIPs in enhancing the employer-led system, refining strategic planning, optimizing the impact of skills funding, and stimulating increased employer investment.

Drawing on research conducted in Autumn 2023, the report examines the approaches of 21 chamber-led LSIPs and assesses their impact to date. Data from the study, as of May 2023, indicates engagement with 65,765 employers. The findings acknowledge challenges faced by businesses, such as "bureaucratic complexities" and "limited employer influence over skills spending priorities." The report advocates for active engagement, transparent communication, and the support of Chambers to address these challenges in the LSIPs process.

John Dugmore, Chief Executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said: “Suffolk Chamber welcomes this report, as its findings highlight, the local approach to skills needs will bring huge benefits to the local business community and in turn the local economy

“Working alongside our partners Norfolk Chambers, educationalists in FE and HE and county councils, this partnership can be transformational in making a positive change to an issue that has affected all employers for decades – bridging the skills gap.

“As we approach a Spring statement and a general election, we trust Government will listen to the business community and take note and action on an initiative successfully launched, that is making a difference, and one that now needs Government to get fully behind for the long term, not simply more short term ‘announcements. We need, and can, together build a local skills pipeline for the future needs.’’

Commenting on the report, Nova Fairbank Chief Executive of Norfolk Chambers of Commerce and the lead for the Norfolk and Suffolk LSIP, said: “Chambers of Commerce are the ideal partners to engage employers and foster collaboration with key stakeholders across the Norfolk and Suffolk skills landscape and this report highlights the brilliant work that is happening locally against the national skills strategy.

“Working alongside our colleagues Suffolk Chamber, we have brought about a willingness to embrace change for the good of this region. The LSIP is now firmly embedded with employers and we would urge the government to look at the long-term plan to ensure Chambers and employers remain at the heart of the skills agenda going forwards.”

The overarching argument of the report is that the LSIP approach is instrumental in fostering a more cohesive and effective skills system, ultimately benefitting local businesses and communities alike. Suffolk Chamber of Commerce stands at the forefront of championing these achievements, aligning with the broader success of LSIPs nationwide.

The Suffolk Chamber is organising a special series of events dedicated to discussion on overcoming the skills gap - find out more about the member only Place Forums events

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Suffolk Chamber

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