Simon Telfer, Chair of the Employment and Skills Advisory Panel and HR and Logistics Director at Branston Ltd, gives his thoughts on progress and demand for employment and skills across Greater Lincolnshire for businesses and the workforce through Covid-19 and beyond.

In Greater Lincolnshire the large number and diversity of businesses locally means that we have a huge range of job, career and skills needs. 

Our main aims within the local employment, skills and training agenda therefore are to inspire and support young people to stay and work in the area, and to train and support people who are already working, or seeking jobs, so that they gain the skills needed to take up future job vacancies.

Since 2019 we have been extending the role of our Employment and Skills Board to include the responsibilities of the new national Skills Advisory Panel programme which ensures that local specialists and businesses are able to provide strategic advice on supply and demand for skills and qualifications. 

The Skills Capital Investment Programme has also continued to bring benefits in the shape of improved facilities to deliver technical and vocational training. The Engineering, Manufacturing and Agri-Tech Centre (EMAT) opened at Boston College recently, and work has started on Phase 1 of Scunthorpe's University Centre. 

Since 2010 we have been working with partners to deliver transformational infrastructure, business support, and critical skills projects and programmes, resulting in strong foundations to drive prosperity through our £123m growth funding. Running parallel, we have developed the Local Industrial Strategy with skills at its heart, which is central to Covid recovery plans and which gives cause for cautious optimism. 

The expanded Enterprise Adviser Network brings together business leaders and local secondary schools to develop career and enterprise strategies and develops more effective ways of increasing the number of encounters and experiences young people have of employers and of work.

Research shows that meaningful encounters for young people with an employer greatly improve their career outcomes and lead to them being significantly less likely (86%) to be unemployed or unengaged in training.  We are very proud that in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council and district councils, two additional Enterprise Coordinators were recruited last year, enabling us to now work with all secondary schools and FE Colleges across Lincolnshire.  

Despite the complex challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic, in Greater Lincolnshire our economy has historically proved resilient to negative economic shocks, and the crisis has already shown the resilience, spirit and adaptability of many of our businesses. 

To respond to some of these challenges we have recently launched a series of Online Jobs and Careers Fairs which have welcomed a total of around 750 people to the site to date, and more than 60 exhibitors who have used the platform to engage and speak with potential future candidates. Click here to find out more and to register as a business or visitor.  

We are proud to be supporting businesses across Greater Lincolnshire during this challenging time, and we extend our thanks to you, our partners, customers, and influencers, for your continued support.