Skills research helps overcome local challenges

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 16:30

Crawley Borough Council, Manor Royal BID and Crawley College joined together to commission research into local skills gaps and needs across the town, with the aim of helping residents and businesses overcome challenges.

Crawley is an important economic hub in the South East, with more than 3,000 businesses that generate 95,000 jobs, resulting in a low unemployment rate. Despite this, questions arose over the extent to which local people were successfully accessing higher level jobs on their doorstep and how businesses were recruiting their workforce.

Focusing on a review of existing policies, accompanied by interviews and surveys of businesses, training providers and stakeholders. The research found that the majority of businesses were experiencing difficulties with recruitment, despite the high quality of positions on offer.

Further research identified the cause as a number of skills gaps, including a lack of digital skills and high-level sector specific skills preventing vacancies from being filled by local people.

The results of the study highlighted 14 principles under four key areas that will enable the council and partners to put together a plan of action to improve access to key talent for businesses and offer educational and skills training opportunities.

These include:

  • Simplifying the landscape of employment and skills initiatives opportunities for both employers and residents.

  • Further raising the profile of and perception of local career opportunities, with a focus on STEM students and women.

  • Improve the awareness amongst young people of local career opportunities, raising levels of ambition and basic employability skills.

  • Ensure work-experience is well promoted, high quality and works well for businesses and students.

Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “Improving the employment and skills opportunities across the town is key to the regeneration of Crawley and improvement in life outcomes for Crawley people. We are the key regional economic powerhouse and this research has been invaluable in identifying areas in which we can improve and develop. Partnering with Crawley College and the Manor Royal BID will ensure that we can make great progress in this area of work.”

Continuing this, Group Director of Sales and Marketing at the Chichester College Group, Paul Rolfe said: “Crawley College is delighted to be working in close partnership with Crawley Council and the Manor Royal Bid to identify and tackle the skills gaps that local businesses are facing. This excellent research provides a platform for us to support our work in enabling local residents to reach their full potential and for business to have a skilled workforce that they need to thrive in a modern economy”

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director at Manor Royal BID, said: “Talented people are at the heart of every successful business and place. Taking stock of what we can do collectively to match the needs of the outstanding companies based here with the talent on offer is really important. The study provides a good platform for us to build on the work we are already doing drawing on good practice from elsewhere and adapting it suit our local circumstances.” 

The full Crawley Skills and Employment Needs Study can be found here

Click here for the Executive Summary