Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce leads plan to relieve worrying skills shortage 

Briege Leahy, CEO of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce 

Briege Leahy, CEO of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce - Credit: Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

The worrying skills shortage in Hertfordshire is to be given a much-needed shot in the arm with the help of a leading business network. 

The county’s Chamber of Commerce, which is based in Old Hatfield, is to take the lead on a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) that will encourage businesses to become involved in identifying the areas where talent is needed now and in the future. 

The Department for Education-led initiative has already been trialled in eight areas across the country and is now being launched nationwide, with 32 of the 38 new regional sites being led by Chambers of Commerce.

The LSIP will clearly set out the skills employers are looking for and the changes required to help ensure post-16 technical education addresses these requirements.

A report will be drafted setting out those key priorities, bringing together employers and providers to understand skills needs and provision. 

Briege Leahy, chief executive officer for the Chamber, said: “We are delighted that our bid to coordinate an LSIP across Hertfordshire has been successful.

"We know businesses across our area are concerned about filling vacancies and having the right skillsets available. We will work with partners to ensure there is a steady stream of talent across the right sectors, not just for now, but for the future.” 

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A survey released last year by Aviva revealed that 70 per cent of firms were concerned about skills shortages with an urgent need to tackle the issue. 

The Chamber will use its well-established relationships with the business community to identify the key areas where skills are lacking.

It will engage with education and training facilities to discuss what is needed and how new courses can be rolled out to address the gaps. 

Briege said: “I believe we all recognise that a new approach is needed when it comes to planning for the future. We have to ensure that the skills young people and adults are learning are relevant for the industries that have the demand. 

“Having people out of work while employers are looking to recruit shouldn’t happen. We need to work together to make sure training is available in the skills that will benefit the county’s economy.”  

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Over ten thousand businesses were engaged in the eight Chamber-led trailblazers.

"Building on this learning and success, we will ensure that planning for local skills is aligned with the job opportunities and growth ambitions of employers. 

"An efficient, network approach will enable the sharing of best practice to boost outcomes for people wherever they live, work and train.”  

LSIPs were introduced in the Skills for Jobs White Paper last year. They are a key part of the government’s vision for an adult skills system where businesses, particularly SMEs, are given a much stronger voice in local skills planning. 

The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has its headquarters at York House in Salisbury Square, Old Hatfield.

For more information on the Chamber, visit www.hertschamber.com