In Cheshire and Warrington the LEP’s Employers’ Skills and Education Board which incorporates the functions of a Skills Advisory Panel comprises a range of key employers and oversees our strategic approach to skills and education to ensure longer term impact on business productivity as well as the development of individual learners.  It advises on our skills and education investments and drives our skills and education agenda.  It influences local as well as national policy.

The Employers’ Skills and Education Board Priorities can be found here.

The Employers Skills and Education Board has ruthlessly pursued these priorities by the following actions:

  • Accelerate

Accelerate Cheshire and Warrington is a brand new opportunity to access financial and skills development support to upskill and reskill your workforce.

Every business needs to be at the forefront of talent development so that it can become more productive, take advantage of new technologies and business processes and remain competitive.

A business that invests in its people is more likely to reduce employee turnover and find it easier to attract new people, with employees better able to progress, widen their career choices and support the business innovation process.

  • Pledge Network

A network of employer-led Pledges has been established across Cheshire and Warrington.  The Pledge team works with local secondary schools to help them develop Career Strategies and associated delivery plans and matches each school with a local business person to support the schools’ senior management teams to develop and implement their plans.  In addition, the Pledge team works with youth groups to connect them to local businesses and with a wide range of local employers to develop coherent programmes of activities that will inspire young people about new technologies and career opportunities.

  • Reskilling and Upskilling the Existing Workforce

A successful £29m bid to use European Social Funds to invest in a Virtual Institute of Technology, now called Accelerate, was submitted on behalf of local partners by the University of Chester.  The University is working with the Employers’ Skills and Education Board to establish operational priorities – these include a strong focus on digital and science, technology, engineering and maths skills.  The European Social Funds will be matched with employer investments to deliver training packages for employees to help them progress, introduce new technologies and business processes to improve productivity.  The employers will pay 60% towards the cost of training and the European Social Funds will contribute the remaining 40%.  The funding will also be used to fund independent brokers who will work with groups of employers to aggregate demand as well as on developing new packages of training where needed.

  • Digital Skills

The Employers’ Skills and Education Board is also responsible for our Digital Skills Partnership which enables us to support the delivery of these priorities and to ensure a strong focus on the digital skills needed to improve productivity as well as the digital skills needed by all our residents to live and work effectively in an increasingly digital economy.

The Digital Skills Partnership has already been able to access a range of national digital expertise to support our skills priorities – including support from Google who delivered workshops to over 700 young people taking part in the summer schools arranged though the National Citizenship Service.

  • Local Growth Fund

The Employers’ Skills and Education Board has used the LEP’s Local Growth Fund to invest in the specialist equipment needed to deliver digital and STEM related skills across Cheshire and Warrington.  Fourteen investments worth just over £4.6 million have already been approved and further investments will be made over the next few months.

The Pledge, Accelerate, the Digital Skills Partnership and the investment of our Local Growth Fund are all geared towards transforming the skills landscape in our region ensuring we pro-actively develop the skills essential to the future of our economy.

(v)            Data and Labour Market Information

The Employers’ Skills and Education Board are working with all our local colleges, local authorities, the University of Chester, Jobcentre Plus and other local partners to develop data and labour market intelligence that will inform the development of the curriculum across Cheshire and Warrington.  A Data and Labour Market Steering Group has been formed and the initial phase of work has been completed in time to inform and influence the curriculum planning that takes place in colleges and other training providers at this time of year.  Download a copy of the initial report here.

Clare Hayward MBE DL, Chair of the LEPs Employers Skills Board said:

“We have been listening to businesses in Cheshire and Warrington and many are finding it difficult to access the right skills for future growth. This is having an impact on competitiveness, innovation and productivity.

We are working with local partners to ensure that both employers and employees are able to access the skills they need, ensuring that more organisations can adopt a long-term strategy to developing business-critical skills”.

Fuller Working Lives

Skills, productivity and the ageing workforce – what employers need to know.

A practical guide to becoming an age-inclusive employer and harnessing the skills and experience of older workers

How does the ageing workforce affect you?

As the workforce ages, employers are increasingly looking to retain the valuable skills of their older workers. With many people leaving the workforce before they reach State Pension age, it’s important for employers to offer opportunities, such as retraining and flexible working, to keep them.

Fewer younger people entering the workforce and training, means an increasing reliance on retaining and recruitment of older people.

Once in work, older workers may require retraining to ensure their skills are up to date and to help them adapt to any changes in the work environment.

Employers recognised for best practice understand the business case for a mixed-age workforce. They know the age of their workforce, talk to their workers to identify issues and introduce interventions to help retain, retrain and recruit older workers. Find out more about Fuller Working Lives here.


The government has launched a new website and package of support, to help employers find out about industry placements and provide support with planning and preparation.

T Levels, the new qualification for 16 to 19-year-olds who have finished their GCSEs, have been designed by employers and will combine classroom learning with a substantial industry placement.

The new website includes off-the-shelf tools, case studies from those already offering placements, opportunities for workshops, webinars and tailored hands-on support.
View the T-levels website here