The West of England has one of the highest skilled workforces in the country: 42% of graduates choose to remain here, almost 48% of people are educated to degree level and businesses report fewer skills shortages than in the rest of England.
Ensuring local people have the opportunities to gain the right skills needed for the jobs that are being created locally is vital. The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) will have local powers and funding to help ensure this, including:
- Responsibility for the Adult Education Budget (19+ years) from 2018/19, helping the West of England ensure that adult skills provision meets the needs of local businesses and learners. Whilst we don’t know exactly how much this budget allocation will be yet, we know it is likely to equate to around 20% of the overall college budgets.
- Co-design with DWP of the new Work and Health Programme (successor to the Work Programme) focusing on supporting those with a health condition or disability and the very long-term unemployed. The West of England would also bring forward a pilot scheme to offer intensive support for those furthest from the labour market.
- Closer working with central government on the design of local careers and enterprise provision, such as the Careers and Enterprise Company and the National Careers Service.
- Developing a local Employment and Skills plan for the West of England.