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Suite 305 - Queens Dock Business Centre

67-83 Norfolk St


L1 0BG

Absolutely amazing to see the winners of the recent procurement of the Sheffield City region devolved AEB. The region has a unique and diverse labour market. Obviously, the historic undertones of the steel sector run through the whole region but in recent years growth in tech, warehousing and care as well as the advanced manufacturing centre in Rotherham and the growth of Robin Hood airport prior to the pandemic gives the region a real elective mix of where people can choose skills and careers. The AEB winners need to offer a wide range of training for participants and work with the LEP and wider business community to utilse the budget effectively but also offer the right qualifications and accreditations that are going to propel the region forward for years to come. Exciting times.

One challenge for those providers both collage and ITP is finding and retaining the talent to make the programme a success. Not only are we facing a huge skills shortage in our sector at present the battle for talent has gone nuclear. The competing need for tutors, assessors, skills coaches, business development professionals, quality experts et al is crazy across the whole country. With different provision wanting to secure talent to run ESF contracts such as SSW and SSU, Traineeships, Apprenticeships, Restart and the rumour that JET’s and WHP are being extended. Also with the future community’s fund and tier 2 CAHERAS procurement supposed to be on the slate soon it isn’t going to let up.

Sheffield is going to be interesting to view from this POV demographically the region is small and the pool of experienced professionals within our sector has been drained in recent years by SSW and SSU programmes. Also a lot of large providers have their HQ’s here and so become employers of choice within the sector for supplementary roles such as compliance, quality and sales. The public sector routes across the region are not great particularly during the winter months add this to move to more remote work and delivery then quite a few balls to be juggled by new entrants to the region.

As well as staff recruitment – employer engagement and learner engagement will be key to success. Collaboration across our sector is something I have been championing for a long time through my work as a fellow of the IEP and working consultatively with providers about growth. Hopefully the Combined authority can begin this integration from the get go insuring AEB is spent where and with who it is needed for.

As said, this is not a sole challenge for the Sheffield City Region – I am just using this region as like with all my blog’s it was prompted by one of my rabbit hole conversations from earlier today. Candidate short markets are all the conversation within the recruitment and talent acquisition sector.The link in this paragraph will take you to a recent webinar to review and pick out findings from the 2021 Q1 labour market research undertaken by the sector, although not specific to FE and Employability it gives and indicative overview of how markets and organisations need to re-think hiring ant retention post pandemic.

Some hardly unground breaking initial advice from me:

  1. Conduct a succinct and speedy recruitment process and ensure you have all your internal budgets and approvals in place to enable this.
  2. Adjust your expectations when hiring candidates in the current market. Where is your flexibility?
  3. Communicate your organisations’ financial strength when advertising to reassure potential candidates of future job security.
  4. Keep an open mind about internal restructuring based on skill sets to enable a quality candidate to fit within your team.
  5. Ensure your organisation has strong employer branding with a solid online presence. Use partners to bolster this.
  6. Make sure you have attractive work benefits to entice candidates. Salary is not the most important driver. Security, progression, development, work life balance etc are all major factors.

I am doing a lot of work around strategy for providers at present as well as the team doing a lot of recruitment it is important to constantly assess and review the market to book in a session please contact me on to talk through any current recruitment needs please feel free to contact me direct or the team on 0151 294 4431.

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