Agenda item - Greater Brighton Skills
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Greater Brighton Skills
Verbal Update (Councillor Tom Bewick to lead discussion)
8.1 The Board considered a presentation from Councillor Bewick (Brighton & Hove City Council) that detailed the region’s current performance on apprenticeships, examined case-studies from other regions and how they had performed and facilitated a discussion on the potential opportunities for the Greater Brighton Region.
8.2 Andrew Swayne stated that he was supportive of the proposals but observed that they should form a part of wider improvements in the skills employment chain including graduates. Andrew Swayne noted his support for engaging with schools and asked if there could be further focus on work experience programmes.
8.3 Councillor Blackman noted that Lewes had patterned with LEAP on a similar program and had found through that program that a high amount of spending was required to attract employers. Councillor Blackman stated that any potential opportunities for the Greater Brighton region should be outcome driven and he was mindful that there were already many companies operating on a similar platform in the region. Councillor Blackman added that efforts should be targeted toward training that provided a skill set needed by local employers.
8.4 Dean Orgill stated that many employers were confused by what apprenticeship schemes could offer and an awareness campaign should be run alongside any potential scheme. Dean Orgill added that he agreed there was deficiency in the local employment available for graduates.
8.5 John A. Peel stated that he was familiar with incentives (such as freeman of the city) as part of a successful apprentice scheme in Coventry and urged for the City Region to instigate something similar in any future scheme.
8.6 In response to the matters raised, Councillor Bewick noted that there had been some discussion in Parliament of creating a Royal Society of Apprentices; that he supported a focus on outcomes and not just the number of successful apprentice schemes and that there was a solid network of local companies currently in the area and a focus of any potential scheme would be to build upon what was already in place.
8.7 Jenny Rowlands noted that there were a number of construction projects coming forward, many of which had been approved by the Board and asked if portable apprentices could be created. Jenny Rowlands also commended the work of the Universal Technical College in Newhaven that had changed perceptions related to value.
8.8 Councillor Bewick noted that central government had in June introduced a levy on large companies to fund apprenticeships that could raise £50m for investment. Councillor Bewick added that the proposed Brighton & Hove apprenticeship task force would not be comprised of any local councillor’s and would report its findings and recommendations to the council and the city’s three MP’s.
8.9 Kirsti Godson noted her support for the proposal for a City Region apprentice company that could send a clear message and supplemented that in her experience, larger companies had often been unreceptive to apprenticeship schemes.
8.10 Prof. Crampton stated his support for the proposals adding that a much more comprehensive approach was required.
8.11 The Board agreed to ask the Greater Brighton Officer Programme Board to consider the proposal for a City Region apprenticeship company in more detail and return to the Board with its findings and proposals.