Policy solutions: Devo skills: How mayors can deliver skills, jobs and social inclusion

9th May 2017

Library of Birmingham
The Government’s industrial strategy green paper recognised the need for people to access learning opportunities throughout their working lives to help stay on top of technological and economic changes in the labour market around them.  At the same time, six very different areas across England – Cambridge and Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Tees Valley, West Midlands and West of England – are now preparing for the introduction of directly elected mayors from May 17. With the devolution of the Adult Education Budget and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, how can Combined Authorities benefit from greater influence over their local adult learning and skills systems and deliver on their new mayors’ manifesto commitments? 
Learning and Work’s analysis of mayoral priorities suggests that a focus on employment, low pay, productivity and social inclusion will lie at the heart of many of these manifestos.  Research shows that the challenges differ in each area: in the West Midlands employment is at 64.4%, 10% below the national average and low across all local authorities in the area, whereas Manchester has inequalities within the city region, where rates vary from 79% to 63% across local authority areas.  Other areas face specific challenges, such as the disability employment gap in Liverpool and ethnic minority employment in the Tees Valley.  In Sheffield, by contrast, the biggest issue is low pay, with the lowest hourly wages in all city regions. 
L&W believes that opportunities for adults to learn new skills and secure high-quality jobs are essential in enabling local areas to deliver the outcomes that incoming mayors want to see.  But what works in practice?  This event will hear from experts in the field about key challenges in combined local authority areas, and showcase initiatives in adult learning and skills which can help respond to them.
To highlight to policy-makers, commissioners and stakeholders in combined authority areas the contribution of adult learning and skills in delivering on mayoral priorities and tackling skills gaps, improving productivity, labour market progression and economic and social inclusion.
Delegates will benefit from:
  • Expert analysis of the key economic and social challenges in a range of combined authority areas
  • A showcase of innovative practice in adult learning and skills provision linked to local economic and social priorities
  • Enhanced understanding of the ways in which different kinds of adult learning contribute to local outcomes


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