Bridging the Skills Gap

Bridging the Skills Gap

You are invited to join the North East Economic Forum and Iain Wright, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for 14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships on 11th January 2010.

Statement on Employment and Skills.

Our Region

The North East Region with a population of 2,575m is small and relatively compact in comparison to other UK Regions, but is a hugely diverse region that includes two conurbations along with a wide rural area comprising small market towns and villages. There are concentrated areas of wealth and deprivation and the employment and skills issues faced by the region are significant.


The approach taken to address our employment and skills challenges has been focused on developing a better understanding of how our economy works and what skills are required to deliver future priorities.


Economic Participation

The Region has made significant progress in closing the economic gap with the rest of Great Britain on many key indicators, including the numbers in employment, reductions of Incapacity Benefit claimants and Lone Parents, and increasing skills levels. The economic downturn has impacted on this, but the Region has been well placed to respond through:

·         Strong partnership frameworks such as the Regional Employment Framework that involves all agencies at both a regional and city region/sub region level.

·         Establishment of City Region and Sub Regional arrangements underpinned by Multi Area Agreements in Tyne and Wear and Tees Valley, Employment and Skills Boards and maximising devolution and localisation opportunities through such mechanism as co-commissioning.


Significant challenges remain, particularly for the more disadvantaged areas where continuing support is required to ensure that inequalities do not increase and specific client groups needs, such as young people and those in in receipt of incapacity benefits are addressed. Action is being taken through the Backing Young People’s, Future Jobs Fund with significant and coordinated bids operating across the Region.



The North East has made significant progress in addressing basic skills with the Region now matching and in some areas outperforming the rest of the country in the achievement of Levels 1 and 2 qualifications. However, there are still significant numbers of people with no qualifications.


Higher-level skills remains a significant challenge, as whilst there is a high quality base of Higher and Further Education institutions, the Region struggles to both attract and retain graduates. Further work is underway to establish and understand the current and future higher skills needs of the economy through the Regional Skills Partnership and the two City Regions.  .         


14-19 Agenda

The Machinery of Government changes have presented significant challenges for all partners, but this has been positively responded too, to put into place city region/sub region based commissioning arrangements and to influence national policy developments. The Region is also responding to issues of transition from 14-19 to adult skills through the emerging Employment and Skills Boards, and in addressing those young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) with joint working to ensure support continues when they join mainstream adult support to seek employment.   


Book your place at the event here.


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