Mind the skills gap!

A photo of a classroom lesson

The council has drawn up a long-term strategy to help shrink the district’s skills gap and help young people find the first rungs on a solid career ladder.

The district has one of the worst rates for educational attainment in the country and this has helped fuel a low-skills low-pay local economy.

With the effects of increased automation and digitalisation and Brexit on the horizon, low skill jobs are likely to be most at risk. A recent Centre for Cities report suggested that the effects of automation, alone, could result in up to 30 per cent of current jobs in Mansfield being lost.

Meanwhile, jobs growth in the next ten years is likely to be in higher skilled  occupations and local employers are already reporting difficulties in recruiting at all levels with certain sectors such as health and social care, and technical and digital sectors, struggling most.

Now Mansfield Skills Plan – Develop, Retain and Attract Talent, drawn up with the council’s partners on the Mansfield Place Board, will develop objectives and action plans to steer the district in addressing skills shortages and boosting educational aspirations and achievement. 

View the Mansfield Skills Plan

Mariam Amos, Strategic Director at the council, explained: “More than ever, effective collaboration between businesses and partners engaged in the district’s education, training and employment provision will be vital to ensure we achieve our ambition to transform Mansfield into a high performing economy.

“We will only achieve this by working together, developing the talents and aspirations of our residents and communities and by rebuilding confidence and pride. The good, high tech well paid jobs are there in this district. What we need are local people with the right skills to fill them.

“It’s as though there is a river between the opportunities out there on one side and the people on the other. We have to build the bridges that will help them take advantage of those opportunities. We all have to work to build those bridges.

“Many of the objectives in this strategy are aimed at young people, especially those who may be deprived or vulnerable.

“But actually people of all ages could benefit from upskilling, for instance, especially at the moment. Many have lost jobs recently that they may have had for years and are now in the midst of a competitive jobs market in the middle of a Covid pandemic and a digital revolution.

“Even seasoned professionals who are now out of work can need help preparing for digital job applications and remotely held, online interviews.

“Meanwhile young people can often have anxieties around phone and or screen conversations, and while many may have digital skills, they don’t know how to use them professionally.”

Action plan for Mansfield

The Mansfield Skills Plan calls for action in five key areas:

  1. Provide education that's better connected to business needs by encouraging businesses and primary and secondary schools to collaborate more to broaden horizons, make the link between learning and work, provide meaningful career insights and tackle gender stereotypes.
  2. Connect more young people and adults to jobs, starting a business and career progression by helping secondary schools to connect with high and further education and business partners. This can raise the aspirations and self-belief among students, raise their motivation levels, and help them make well informed career and qualification choices.
  3. Expanding the number of apprenticeships on offer by promoting the advantages of apprenticeships and graduate careers, and encouraging local businesses to invest in high quality, technical and degree level apprenticeships.
  4. Make better use of higher education, talent and resources by helping and making it easier for young people to access further and higher education locally.
  5. Tackle skills gaps, skills mismatch and shortages by providing  opportunities for young people, once they have the education and skills, to access good quality jobs in leadership and management roles with local employers through partnership working, making connections and providing the platforms.

Published: November 30th 2020