Skills advisory panels (SAPs) are being formed to source information about skills needs and labour market requirements at local level across England.

SAPs will gather knowledge of immediate needs and challenges in an area as well as helping to shape long-term skills and employment plans. They will subsequently assist VET and higher education providers to deliver the skills needed by industry in the future.

The panels will collaborate with local employers and VET providers to assist local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and other local authorities with the analysis of skills and employment needs.

Current local employment and skills boards which are functioning well will take on the SAP function by October 2019, when new panels should also be in place.

The Department for Education has developed a skills analysis toolkit in collaboration with other government departments, local authorities and LEPs to ensure each local SAP produces consistent analytical output.

The toolkit comprises a detailed framework and methodology designed to help SAPs produce work that meets the standards set by the government. The framework specifies that SAPs are required to follow up on skills and employment needs once they have been identified; produce skills analysis according to defined indicators that consider the skills landscape and labour market; and enable understanding of local skills systems through a five-stage model.

Stage 1 – Analysis and definition of the local landscape

  • Examination of the current economic landscape in the area
  • Determine performance benchmarks within and across multiple geographic levels

Stage 2 – Analysis of skills demand

  • Identification of the strengths and weaknesses in labour markets
  • Exploration of skill needs based on current and future demand
  • Insight into business and employer environments

Stage 3 – Analysis of skills supply

  • Determine available skills against those required in the area
  • Identification of potential challenges that may restrict skills supply

Stage 4 – Mapping of demand and supply

  • Assessment of the types of skills gaps and the causes
  • Ascertain whether learner provision and business development meet demand
  • Assessment of the likelihood of meeting future demand through current supply

Stage 5 – Conclusions

  • Derive skills priorities for the local area to improve economic efficiency
  • Outline the available or required mechanisms to support the delivery of the skills and employment priorities

Consistent reporting across all local areas will also be aided by a shared glossary and a list of available data sources that supplement the toolkit.

It is hoped that SAP analysis within a common framework can be combined to present national trends with fewer analytical disparities, while allowing the local areas to focus on their priorities related to employment and skills. The analysis and data sets will also increase the ability to compare the skills supply and demand situation between local areas.

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Skills advisory panels

The analytical toolkit for local skills analysis