• Skills for Business

As part of our mission to drive growth in Gloucestershire, we’re creating jobs and business opportunities. To make the most of these, we’re giving people the skills they need to get the jobs they want.

Our strategies and action plans for local skills

We are continually updating and evolving of approaches to dealing with the employment and skills needs in Gloucestershire as well as updating the information that informs this work.

2020-21 has been a time like no other as far as employment and skills is concerned so we have focused our work on the skills-related activities to support local economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This doesn’t mean that the longer-term skills needs of the County have been forgotten, as the majority of the workstreams involved also support the longer-term growth ambitions of Gloucestershire and align closely with the draft Gloucestershire Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) https://www.gfirstlep.com/industrial-strategy/ published in 2019.


Gloucestershire Employment and Skills Evidence Base

Our Employment and Skills evidence base has been reviewed and substantially updated in January 2022 to include some of the impacts of the Covid pandemic and EU Exit on the local economy. This evidence base explains more about Gloucestershire’s demographics, employment and unemployment trends, business sectors and employers. Organisations bidding for employment and skills or other contracts in the County may find this useful to refer to in their bids.

Please click below to access downloads:

The Employment and Skills Evidence Base January 2022

LMSR Section 1 Labour Market Background

LMSR Section 2 Employment

GFirst LEP Local Skills Report Core Indicators (Annex A)

Skills Strategy for Gloucestershire 2022 to 2027

Our Skills Strategy is available here 

We are particularly keen to ensure that we work with local employers, local and national careers, employability and skills providers to ensure that provision aligns with the current and future skills and employment needs of local employers. We will be seeking to align any funding bids or other skills developments in the County to support this work and we would like all organisations to work with us in a co-ordinated and collaborative way for the benefit of Gloucestershire residents and businesses.

Our Employment & Skills Action Plan underpins and drives forward the workstreams in our Skills Strategy. Our Action Plan is reviewed quarterly and updated every six months. The latest version is available here.


Gloucestershire local skills priorities for economic recovery

This Powerpoint presentation explains the needs we are trying to meet and the rationale for our skills response to aid local economic recovery. It should be read in conjunction with the Employment and Skills Action Plan below.

Please click here to download Gloucestershire's local skills priorities for economic recovery.


How GFirst LEP works in the ‘skills space’

GFirst LEP works on employment and skills by providing a combination of:

  • Strategic direction – via key strategies such as the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), the ESIF Strategy, the Local Industrial Strategy, our Economic recovery response, the Skills Strategy, and the Local Skills Report
  • The voices of local businesses -  via the LEP Board, Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel (GSAP), LEP business groups, the Growth Hub, surveys with local businesses, etc. into local and national consultations and decisions on employment and skills issues
  • Influence– via the LEP Board, Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel (GSAP), business groups, campaigns with employers, lobbying
  • Funding – Skills capital projects; European Social Fund (ESF) funding; UK Shared Prosperity Funding (when agreed by Government)
  • Enable, co-ordinate and facilitate – through partnership working, sharing of resources, resolving blockages, disseminating information
  • Deliver – Where we are best placed to do so e.g. the GFirst Careers Hub


Skills Advisory Panels: the national context

Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs) bring together employers, skills providers and key local stakeholders to better understand and resolve skills mismatches at a local level. There are 36 SAPs across England as part of Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The Department for Education (DfE) supports SAPs with grant funding primarily to produce high quality analysis of local labour markets and Local Skills Reports. The Reports set out the local strengths and skills needs and how the SAP proposes its area addresses its key priorities. The Reports aim to influence local partners and feed intelligence to central government, including the national-level Skills and Productivity Board (SPB).

In January 2021, DfE published its White Paper “Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth,” which set out a number of reforms aimed at putting employers more firmly at the heart of the skills system. The White Paper outlined plans to test in 2021-22, in a small number of areas, “Local Skills Improvement Plans” created by business representative organisations.

The White Paper committed to build on the work of SAPs to date. SAPs and their Local Skills Reports will continue as the DfE trailblazes “Local Skill Improvement Plans” and until any potential changes are made to a SAP’s remit and responsibilities.

The work of Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel

The Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel (GSAP) provides a link between local economic development needs and strategic planning, with the mandate to address issues around skills and unemployment/worklessness in the County. It is an advisory body with no legal status but with a specific role as part of GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and the local authority structure within Gloucestershire.

The aim of the Panel is to boost economic growth by creating a more appropriate, relevant and highly skilled local workforce, and its role is to shape and influence employment and skills training and support to meet the skills needs of employers in Gloucestershire.

This is done by engaging private and public sector employers, colleges, training providers and the voluntary and community sector in the development and delivery of an integrated employment and skills strategy and associated action plan.

The Panel:

  • Has developed an Employment and Skills Evidence Base to inform about the employment and skills needs, demand and supply in the County Add link to Employment and Skills Evidence Base
  • Has developed, published and is implementing the Gloucestershire Skills Strategy 2022-27. This incorporates both the skills workstreams supporting local economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and EU Exit, and those meeting the longer-term skills needs and sector growth ambitions of the County. These are brought together into an Action plan for Employment and Skills in Gloucestershire.
  • Has provided GFirst LEP and other appropriate bodies/groups such as the Gloucestershire European Structural and Investment Funding Committee (ESIF) with recommendations on both revenue and capital skills funding priorities and skills projects within Gloucestershire.
  • Has optimised the impact of employment and skills investment for local communities, employers and individuals
  • Used experience and knowledge of Panel Members and others associated with the Panel to seek to shape strategy and policy on employment, learning and skills development
  • Influenced the prioritisation, planning and investment in employment and skills supply and the shape of delivery


Gloucestershire Local Skills Report

This has been prepared by GFirst LEP and GSAP to explain more about the work they have been doing, the influence it is having and the skills challenges and successes in Gloucestershire. The Local Skills Report was updated and published here in June 2022.

The Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel (GSAP) reports to the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board and to the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC) and has a specific role to develop and inform LEP and local authority strategic plans with particular reference to employment, skills and training needs.

The GSAP has made recommendations to the GFirst LEP Board, to Gloucestershire County Council, to the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC), and to the Gloucestershire European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Committee to enable employment and skills capital and revenue funding to be bid for and allocated in Gloucestershire, based on and targeted to deal with local priorities. It also works closely with the education, skills and training providers to ensure they are fully aware of and work towards achieving local employment and skills priorities.

Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel

The Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel (GSAP) provides a link between local economic development needs and strategic planning, with the mandate to address issues around skills and unemployment/worklessness in the County. It is an advisory body with no legal status but with a specific role as part of GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and the local authority structure within Gloucestershire.

Please click here to see Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel members

GSAP Meetings and papers

Please click here to download a copy of The Gloucestershire Labour Market and Skills Review. 

Please click here to download GESB dates. 

Please click here to download GESB Minutes 12 12 2019.

Please click here to download GESB Minutes 14 10 2019.

Please click here to download GESB Minutes 23 05 2019.

Please click here to download GSAP Minutes 2 5 2020.

Please click here to download GSAP Minutes 5 11 2020.

Please click here to download GSAP Minutes 8 2 2021. 

Please click here to download GSAP Minutes 5 7 2021. 

Please click here to download GSAP Minutes 11 10 2021.


How GSAP is co-ordinated

GSAP is co-ordinated and facilitated by Pete Carr and Roxanne Varnham of GFirst LEP. Further support for GSAP members and at meetings is provided by a number of staff working for GFirst LEP and Gloucestershire County Council. They all contribute through their specific areas of expertise as well as though actioning the various employment and skills actions agreed by the GSAP.

Please click here to see support staff.


Where can I get help with getting a job or learning new skills?

Please visit our Skills Portal where we have brought together a wide range of local and national provision to help you with your career, training, support to get into/back into work, and access to live job vacancies in Gloucestershire www.skillsportalglos.com

For Gloucestershire’s Careers Hub please visit www.gloscareershub.com/


Skills projects commissioned by GFirst LEP

GFirst LEP has previously commissioned a number of projects that support employment and skills in Gloucestershire. Unless where indicated, these projects can be found using the following link, where there are more details about the purpose and benefits of each project as well as a map showing where each project is located/delivered from.

Please click here to see Skills Projects commissioned by GFirst LEP.


Our work with schools and colleges in Gloucestershire

For many years, GFirst LEP has been helping schools and colleges to strengthen their careers support for young people and develop further links with local businesses and businesspeople. In November 2020, GFirst LEP, with funding from the Careers and Enterprise Company, launched the GFirst Careers Hub to further develop this careers support and linkages with businesses.

For further details about and how you can get involved with the GFirst Careers Hub, please visit www.gloscareershub.com/

Employment and skills funding opportunities

Following the March 2021 Budget, responsibilities for managing the assessment of the Levelling Up Fund and the UK Community Renewal Fund have been transferred to local authorities. In Gloucestershire, this responsibility is held by Gloucestershire County Council.  Employment and skills providers seeking funding through these funds are encouraged to contact Gloucestershire County Council to gain further information about eligibility, how to apply, etc.

For most employment and skills providers, the most relevant Fund will be the UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF)

Below is a summary of the main Funds announced in the Budget with links to the nationally available information about these Funds.

UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF)

The UK Community Renewal Fund will provide local areas across the UK with access to £220 million of additional funding as they prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund due to launch in 2022. As EU structural funds tail off after 2022-23, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will succeed them as a programme distinct from the UKCRF and help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need in a manner distinct but complementary to the Levelling Up Fund, through investment in skills, enterprise and employment.

The County Council is expected to encourage bids from a range of local applicants, including local district councils, voluntary and community sector organisations and local education providers including universities, assess and shortlist projects (up to £3m with a recommended project size of £500k+) and submit to MHCLG by noon on Friday 18 June 2021.

Please click here for more information

Funding will be prioritised according to a list of 100 priority places. There are no priority places in Gloucestershire. List of 100 priority places (publishing.service.gov.uk)

The full document can be found at the link below:

UK Community Renewal Fund: prospectus - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF)

There is little detail available on the UKSPF. The UK Community Renewal Fund will be the pilot provide funding for communities across the UK to “pilot programmes and new approaches” in 2021/22 and prepare for the introduction of the UKSPF in 2022. A framework is due to be launched later this year with a prospectus released at the next spending review.

It is not anticipated that the funding structure of the Levelling Up Fund will set a precedent for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

“As we look towards the UK Shared Prosperity Fund next year, we are conscious of the need for an evolution of the way we support local economic growth so it can best support levelling up for the long term. The UK government will work with local partners throughout 2021 to develop an approach that delivers the infrastructure and regeneration priorities local leaders want to see in their area.”

Build Back Better – Growth plan

This plan for growth is the Government’s overarching framework for delivering jobs, growth and building back better. There are three core pillars of growth including infrastructure, skills and innovation.

The full document can be found at the link below:

Build Back Better - our plan for growth (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Levelling Up Fund

The Levelling Up Fund was announced at the 2020 Spending Review to support communities. The Fund will focus on capital investment in local infrastructure, building on and consolidating prior programmes such as the Local Growth Fund and Towns Fund. A £4bn fund, the first phase of funding will cover three themes of: smaller transport projects that make a genuine difference to local areas; town centre and high street regeneration; and support for maintaining and expanding the UK’s world-leading portfolio of cultural and heritage assets.

It will have a visible, tangible impact on people and places, and support economic recovery. In doing so, it will also create opportunity across the country, prioritising bids that invest in regeneration and growth in places in need and areas of low productivity and connectivity. The prospectus sets out how local areas can access the first round of funding.

The full document can be found at the link below:

Levelling_Up_prospectus.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)


Ahead of the introduction of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill to Parliament, the DfE have issued a press release in which they highlight some key measures in the legislation.

Introducing new powers to intervene when colleges are failing to deliver good outcomes for the communities they serve, and to direct structural change where needed to ensure colleges improve.

Embedding employers in the heart of the skills system, by making it a legal requirement that employers and colleges collaborate to develop skills plans so that the training on offer meets the need of local areas, and so people no longer have to leave their home-towns to find great jobs.

Supporting the transformation of the current student loans system which will give every adult access to a flexible loan for higher-level education and training at university or college, useable at any point in their lives.

Bringing greater parity between the further and higher education, as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, through the greater provision of Higher Technical Qualifications

Further to this, a new fund has been launched  to ‘future proof’ post-16 provision with a £83m Post-16 Capacity Fund.

Providers are invited to bid for a share of the fund, which will support projects to create more space for areas where there is due to be a demographic increase in 16-19 year olds in the 2022/23 academic year. This could include building more classroom space or technical teaching facilities, so providers can continue to offer places to every young person who needs one.

The guidance and application form can be found here: https://bit.ly/2T0WBpV

Skills – Latest news

For latest news about careers, jobs, skills and training, please visit the ‘News’ page of our Skills Portal https://www.skillsportalglos.com/news/


If you’d like to help us in strengthening the economy of Gloucestershire, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

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