In an increasingly competitive world, skills have a critical role to play:
- Individuals require skills to enable them to secure and progress in employment
- Businesses need a skilled workforce to stimulate and encourage productivity and innovation
- Skills are required to support the local economy to compete nationally and internationally
Here in Central Bedfordshire we believe we needed to develop a strategy to deliver a flexible and mobile workforce, able to respond rapidly to environmental shifts and to enable Central Bedfordshire to achieve its economic potential. Working in partnership, we have created an All Age Skills Strategy that defines the skills priorities for the area and the actions required to achieve these priorities.
The All Age Skills Strategy was approved in March 2012.
In April 2011, we appointed Public Perspectives, a specialist research organisation, to deliver a number of stakeholder workshops and focus groups. The aim of the workshops was to gather partners’ views on the skills issues facing Central Bedfordshire and what priorities should be included in the Strategy. Through the focus groups, we were able to look in more detail at some of the skills related issues facing particular groups. For example, focus groups were held with young people in school, with unemployed individuals, and with businesses. Click on the following report for details on their findings: All Age Skills Strategy Consultation Report (PDF 1.7MB).
An additional workshop took place on 17 October 2011. All stakeholders invited or involved in the earlier workshops and interviews were invited to take part. The aim of the workshop was to identify and discuss key actions and test proposed areas of activity to help deliver the strategy, rather than produce a polished action plan. The findings from this workshop are detailed in the following report: All Age Skills Strategy Follow up and action planning workshop (PDF 574KB).
We also appointed Wendy McGinty, an independent advisory consultant, to undertake a series of interviews with individuals from Gypsy and Traveller backgrounds, to uncover some of the particular skills issues facing these groups. Click on the following report for details on Wendy's findings: Gypsy and Traveller Focus Group Report (PDF 55KB).
The findings from the workshops, focus groups and interviews influenced our thinking on what the priorities and areas of focus should be and helped to shape the Draft All Age Skills Strategy (PDF 359KB) which was widely consulted on. The findings from this consultation were taken into account when producing the final version of the strategy, which was approved in March 2012.
The All Age Skills Strategy was also influenced by a number of national and local polices. These are summarised in more detail in Appendix A: National and Local Policies and Reports (PDF 114KB).
The consultation on the Draft All Age Skills Strategy (PDF 1.7MB) ran from the 8 August to the 28 October 2011.
The results from the consultation have helped to shape the final strategy, which, along with associated reports, are available via the following links:
Feedback from the skills consultation was also used to inform the Economic Development Plan.