Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership (BHEP) used its meeting on 2nd October to discuss the employment and skills challenge facing the city with particular focus on the City Employment and Skills Plan.
Members were briefed on the Leitch Review , a government commissioned review of the UK's long-term skills needs, the City Employment and Skills Plan (CESP) and the NEET challenge (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training).
Aidan Pettitt, Partnership Director, Sussex Learning and Skills Council reported on the major findings from the Leitch Review which suggests that by 2020 the share of jobs available to those with no qualifications will be approximately 2.5% compared to 17-18% in 1994 coupled with a huge rise in the demand for managers and professionals.
Dan Shelley, Brighton & Hove Learning Partnership Manager outlined the NEET challenge in the city. He reported that the city's NEET target for 2010 is 6.7% of the city's 16-18 year olds (which equates to approximately 335 young people) and the 2006/7 average is currently 10.85% (663 16-18 year olds). This compares with 8% in East Sussex and 4% in West Sussex. The latest figures for June 2007 indicate that Brighton & Hove's NEET rate has fallen from the average above to just under 10%.
Bruce Nairne from Step Ahead Research provided an overview of the CESP, devised as part of the Equal Program, which has been developed to identify key employment and skills challenges in the city and to develop a more strategic approach to addressing these.
Bruce reported that data used to develop the CESP has identified that the key issue for Brighton & Hove going forward is the predicted growth in the working age population. At 67%, Brighton & Hove's working age population is already significantly higher than regional and national figures. Based on current population projections 12,200 additional people will need to be in work by 2017 just to maintain the current employment rate and 16,000 additional people will need to be in work if we are to meet the government’s target of an 80% employment rate.
To add to this, Brighton & Hove's Gross Value Added (GVA) per head and average earnings are below the regional and national averages.
Bruce advised that these key issues could reflect the structure of the economy which has high levels of out commuting, insufficient higher level opportunities, and a high proportion of part-time, low value added jobs and self employed.
The presentations and following discussion generated a number of further questions for EP members and Simon Fanshawe, Chair of the Economic Partnership advised that a further level of research is required to understand what the predicted trends mean, the supply and demand issues and whether the city will be able to provide high value jobs for residents.
The EP will further consider the issues raised by the CESP at its next meeting in 2008 when a solutions orientated discussion is planned, the results of which will feed into the refresh of the Economic Strategy.
Click below to view the CESP
City Employment & Skills Plan
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Employment & Skills Plan
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Brighton & Hove Learning Partnership
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