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Part 3 - Talent attraction and retention

We want to develop a new demand-led skills programme in close collaboration with employers. This will offer innovative pathways to high-quality jobs and curate bespoke training, recruitment, and continuing professional development and progression solutions that will increase productivity and sustain growth.

1.1 Action plan aim: Improve the careers, information, and advice offer for all residents of Ashfield

What we already have and do

  • Careers advice is already provided by secondary schools, though is not standardised. Available through Futures and The Careers and Enterprise Company
  • The Primary Schools Partnership and the Secondary Schools Network bring in guest speakers to talk about the careers provision that is available and encourage collaboration
  • The Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN) links schools to local employers for the benefit of young people across the region. This is through Futures, and The Careers and Enterprise Company
  • The North Notts Careers Hub brings together school staff, particularly those who lead on careers education, and provides them with additional support, resources, and training for their schools to deliver 'modern, 21st century careers education for every child, no matter their background or circumstance'. The careers hub also links the secondary schools in the district with employers, further education colleges and apprenticeship, and in-work training providers. This is to ensure young people in the region know about the options available to them after they leave education, and the different jobs open to them. Advice available through Futures, and The Careers and Enterprise Company
  • Partners such as Inspire Learning and Futures have funded provision to work with young people aged 16 to 18, who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET) to then be supported into entering education, employment or training
  • Adult residents (18 and over) have access to the National Careers Service, which offers free and impartial guidance to support progress into realistic jobs and training. Futures deliver this service in Ashfield
  • Universities have internal careers advisers to support graduates
  • Vision West Notts College has internal careers advisers for college leavers in collaboration with adult education
  • Residents can access T Levels, which are available at West Notts College. This consists of 80% in class and 20% industry placement post-GCSE and is equivalent to 3 A-Levels (roll out T Levels include: education/childcare, onsite construction, and engineering/manufacturing)
  • Significant investment into Sherwood Observatory for refurbishment and to include a new planetarium and education centre. This will help inspire residents to progress into the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) career sectors.

What we need to do

Develop a coordinated all-age careers 'Information, Advice, and Guidance' (IAG) offer:

1.1.1 Discover Ashfield to map the current careers provision in all local schools.

  • Action completed: 20 September 2023

1.1.2 Encourage all secondary schools to join the Secondary Schools Network.

  • Action completed: 29 July 2022

1.1.3 Ensure the Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN) has representatives from all of Ashfield’s high-profile sectors and are working with all local secondary schools.

  • Action completed: 29 July 2022

1.1.4 Encourage all primary schools to join the Primary Schools Partnership.

  • Action completed: 29 July 2022

1.1.5 Discover Ashfield to encourage secondary schools to sign up to North Notts Careers Hub.

  • Action completed: 10 March 2023

1.1.6 Support schools in developing their internal Careers Platform.

1.1.7 Discover Ashfield to work with schools to improve their Gatsby Benchmarks grading.

  • Action completed: 10 October 2022

1.1.8 Develop space in Ashfield (preferably in Hucknall) to be used as a physical Skills and Careers Hub for adults.

1.1.9 Explore funded provision to offer careers guidance to all adults in Ashfield.

1.1.10 Discover Ashfield to improve the Champions provision in schools, colleges, and universities (with Ashfield students), and ensure this is embedded into their curriculum.

1.1.11 Discover Ashfield to work with primary schools to ensure they all embed a careers programme into their curriculum.

1.1.12 Work with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to develop Ashfield Careers Fairs – bringing partners, residents, and businesses together to talk about vacancies and courses.

  • Action completed: 28 February 2022

1.1.13 Work with Nottinghamshire County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to develop their job matching services 'Nottinghamshire Opportunities' and 'Find a Job', improving traffic from residents and businesses.

1.1.14 Succeed in Ashfield: Secondary Schools Network to encourage businesses to sign up to work experience placements, and ensure a process is in place.

1.1.15 Promote T Levels to local businesses.

1.1.16 Promote the Sherwood Observatory Science Discovery Centre and Planetarium with the Education and Skills partnerships. Measure the impact of the project and showcase.

1.2 Action plan aim: Ensure that apprenticeships are celebrated and promoted to residents

What we already have and do

  • Some local employers are already promoting apprenticeships and vocational learning, using their members of staff as case studies
  • Providers with a base in Ashfield, such as Vision West Notts College and Nottingham Trent University, have apprenticeship provision
  • Regional providers that offer apprenticeship provision include; Althaus Digital Ltd, DBC Training Ltd, Futures, Inspire, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), and Academy Transformation Trust Further Education (ATTFE) College
  • Apprenticeships are promoted, use of levy (large) and bonus scheme when conducting business support meetings.

What we need to do

Review providers’ offer and specialisms in the context of labour market information from key sectors:

1.2.1 Explore and map the local educational organisations sector specialisms.

1.2.2 Work with providers for them to offer apprenticeship levy advice for employers. Ensure employers are giving the correct advice on how to spend their levy effectively.

Develop an apprenticeship and wider vocational learning campaign:

1.2.3 Ensure apprenticeships across all levels are promoted to residents and employers; assess where improvements could be made.

1.2.4 Review the pre-apprenticeship needs of residents (of all ages) and develop a proposed package of support.

1.2.5 Review provider quality and ensure businesses are accessing good to outstanding apprenticeship provision.

1.2.6 Explore which larger employers would be willing to transfer a portion of their levy to small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

1.2.7 Deliver physical apprenticeship events; inviting businesses to speak to providers that have apprenticeship provision.

  • Action completed: 28 March 2023

1.2.8 Devolve unused apprenticeship levy funds for reinvestment in skills, as up to 90% of levy funds nationally are unused.

1.2.9 Obtain impact data from the Enterprising Ashfield 'Apprenticeship' programme and showcase.

1.2.10 Develop a programme for apprentices from Ashfield’s growth sectors to give school talks in lessons.

1.2.11 There is a lack of training providers for electrics and plumbing. Explore investing in apprenticeships within these areas.

1.3 Action plan aim: Ensure there is a support pathway for entrepreneurial talent that want to start up their own business

What we already have and do

  • Enterprising Ashfield project is delivered by Nottingham Trent University from the new business hub based in Sutton. Part of this project is a 'Headstart' programme, equipping entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge to establish, grow, and sustain their business. The programme supports those at all levels, from young entrepreneurs to skilled and experienced technical workers to established businesses by developing and enhancing their business skills
  • Ashfield District Council has a commercial property team, being able to support new businesses set up in the local area, with access to low rented units to use as their business address
  • 'Maker Space' from the High Pavement Business Hub in Sutton is available for start-up businesses to test and use equipment for their business for a small fee
  • Business and IP Centre (BIPC) works with members in Ashfield libraries, and offers business start-up support and hosts relevant webinars and events. It also receives free access to the 'Grant Finder' tool
  • New Business Ventures (NBV), The Prince's Trust, and 'Kick off in Business' offer start-up programmes and funding for entrepreneurial talent
  • Ashfield District Council, along with our partners such as The East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, has a business support service.

What we need to do

Develop a business start-up offer for residents in Ashfield:

1.3.1 Ensure the new High Pavement Business Hub in Sutton has available space for partners such as Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), The Prince's Trust, and New Business Ventures (NBV) to deliver their start-up support services. Working collaboratively with Nottingham Trent University.

1.3.2 Ensure partners that deliver business start-up programmes are referring their customers to a business support service after the course, delivered by Ashfield District Council and partners such as the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

1.3.3 Obtain impact data that comes out of the Enterprising Ashfield 'Headstart' programme and showcase.

1.3.4 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to review and monitor the impact of the redundancy 'Triage' package for Ashfield residents. Ensure the Enterprising Ashfield 'Headstart' programme is included in its redundancy package.

1.3.5 Work with ATTFE College to develop the 'Young Entrepreneurs programme' – raising aspirations for primary and secondary school students to set up a business in Ashfield.

1.3.6 Explore the business start-up support offer for residents in Hucknall and the rurals.

1.3.7 Set up a business start-up event in the Ashfield district.