Boosting skills in Hertfordshire
Published: 23 Jan 2018
A renewed strategy which aims to give all Hertfordshire residents the skills they need to maximise their own potential and help the county’s businesses and economy to thrive was launched yesterday (Monday 22 January).
The Skills Strategy to 2020 will be driven by a partnership of Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Work and Pensions and looks to build on the success of the original plan published in 2015. Since then significant progress has been made; recruitment difficulties have eased and the number of hard to fill vacancies that are hard to fill as a result of skills shortages has significantly reduced. However, there is still work to do.
The strategy incorporates the views and needs of Hertfordshire’s employers, training providers, schools and colleges, the University of Hertfordshire and public sector organisations, and is arranged into five themes:
- Developing our future workforce – supporting young people aged 16 – 24 in the transition from education to employment
- Towards fuller employment – supporting vulnerable adults into employment and helping disabled residents, ex-offenders, people with caring responsibilities, care leavers and other key groups fulfil their potential
- Enhancing opportunities through lifelong learning – encouraging a culture of lifelong learning to benefit individuals as well as local businesses
- A leading economy; skills to drive growth - working with businesses and training providers to improve the skills of both the existing workforce and the future labour market in order to sustain economic growth
- Skills to grow small and medium size businesses (SMEs) - providing targeted support to SMEs and their workforce in order to facilitate growth
Nothando Tawodzera, who is originally from Zimbabwe and now lives in Hatfield, shows why having a skills strategy is important.
Following a redundancy in her accounts assistant position, Nothando began to apply for new jobs but found she had lost confidence in her interview skills.
Following completion of a Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Service (HAFLS) funded computer course at SPS Training Solutions, she enrolled in a “Win the Interview” course run by SPS Training Solutions.
She found that she immediately reaped the benefits. Nothando said: “It was a really good course and the wealth of information was just great. I got better at applications and the practice for interviews was really thorough - it really boosted my confidence.”
Nothando went on to win the Progression and Employability Award at the 2017 HAFLS Learner Awards and was offered a new job as a skills coach at BPP.
David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:
“I am delighted to be able to launch this new strategy; it is a hugely important piece of work for us and our partners. It sets out our approach, and commitment, to how we will grow and develop our workforce to support a strong local economy, whilst enabling all our residents to have the best chance to fulfil their ambitions.”
Mark Bretton, Chair, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“It is three years since the first Skills Strategy for Hertfordshire was published. During that time, excellent progress has been made in implementing its recommendations at a time of significant change in the wider political and economic landscape. Brexit, technological advances in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, increasingly fluid work patterns and the demands of an ageing society; all have the potential to impact on the skills agenda in the years to come. This coupled with the opportunity to deliver a local Industrial Strategy that reflects business needs means we are in a position to respond positively to these changes. To that end, following a wide consultation process, we have revised our Skills Strategy to 2020 so that we remain agile in our approach and ensure that everyone has a stake in Hertfordshire’s growing economy.”