Warwickshire Skills Hub: A plan that came together perfectly
In the spring of 2020, Warwickshire Skills Hub was launched to coordinate all the skills and employability support offered to businesses, education-providers and jobseekers by Warwickshire County Council. Three years on, it has proved an unqualified success. WCC Assistant Director for Communities, Dave Ayton-Hill, reflects with pride on the work of Fay Winterburn and her team at the Skills Hub.
Warwickshire Skills Hub was launched in 2020 on a mission to do something new, collaborative and creative around skills and employability in the county: To make a real difference.
Three years later is a good time to reflect on the journey so far. And, without question, the Skills Hub team has achieved everything they set out to do and more.
That journey continues apace - new and innovative projects are perpetually in the pipeline to add to those already having a positive impact. But on the Skills Hub’s third anniversary, it is appropriate and entirely justified to celebrate a real success: A plan that came together to deliver in style for the people of Warwickshire.
Warwickshire Skills Hub was launched with a mantra of "innovate, shape and create." Under the inspiring leadership of Lead Commissioner (Employability & Skills) Fay Winterburn, it has truly walked the walk. The Skills Hub engages with 600 businesses per year, a proactive connection which enables the building of a really strong, evidence-based understanding of the barriers experienced by businesses.
The Skills Hub team then works creatively to design and launch solution-based programmes which respond to the businesses’ needs. I am immensely proud of Fay and the team and also very thankful to the strategic partners, businesses, education settings and communities who work with them. As with every element of business support, collaboration is key.
Let’s look in more detail at the work of the dynamic Warwickshire Skills Hub team,
Careers support to schools
Warwickshire Skills Hub has delivered over £240,000 of careers activity to over 40 Warwickshire schools, colleges and sixth-forms. It supported over 19,000 students to engage in meaningful careers activity and access digital careers during the COVID 19 pandemic and has created over 43 careers films showcasing Warwickshire employers.
A total of 1,002 businesses have received over 5,000 hours of skills support. WSH has developed 66 Inclusive Employers who have committed to shaping inclusive jobs.
A total of £1,113,419 of Warwickshire County Council’s Apprenticeship Levy Funds has been shared with small-to-medium-sized businesses. WSH has created 120 apprenticeship opportunities for Warwickshire young people. This work contributed to WCC winning the FSB Small Business Friendly Award while the Council received the Hight Sheriff Award for commitment to promoting apprenticeships.
Warwickshire Skills Hub has supported 190 young care leavers, unemployed and those who are NEET to engage with employment activities and explore Warwickshire job opportunities.
A total of 155 Ukrainians have engaged in employment support activity.
Warwickshire Supported Employment Service
A new service was recently launched to support over 400 young people and adults with learning disability and/or Autism to gain employment in the county.
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All this support is delivered by a staff which has grown from just two, when the Skills Hub began, to 18 which now operates in three separate teams under the Skills Hub umbrella based in a unit at one of Warwickshire County Council’s business centres, Eliot Park Innovation Centre, in Nuneaton.
The Careers and Employability Team works with schools, colleges, 6th forms and employability specialists to shape careers and employability activity.
- Future careers schools programme, working with businesses and schools to showcase future skills needs and promote key sectors
- The Ukraine Working in Warwickshire Programme -supports the Ukraine community to gain employment skills, explore employment opportunities and identify roles which complement their transferable skills
The Business Skills Support Team supports businesses to create skills plans to complement their organisational business plan. This incorporates all kinds of support and solutions to building skills and attracting new talent to their roles.
- Business Skills Support - To support businesses to build a skills plan unique to their business whilst exploring apprenticeships, funded training programmes, intern, post grand and T-level industry placement opportunities.
- The Fair Chance Employer programme, which supports employers to shape inclusive jobs and recognise the adjustments care leavers, NEETSs, Ex- Armed Forces and many more groups of high priority groups of people might need when re-entering the world of work.
- The Warwickshire Small Business Apprenticeship programme which supports SMEs to gain access to crucial supportive funding to support the cost of the apprenticeship training.
Warwickshire Supported Employment Service supports young people and adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to move into paid and sustainable employment
- Supporting over 400 people per year to attend Working in Warwickshire Job Clubs and Employment sessions. All individuals in the service will also connect to the Fair Chance Employer Programme who provide a valuable bank of employers who are able to make reasonable adjustment and overcome any barriers or supportive needs individuals may have.