Agenda item

Session 2 - Skills Inquiry

To consider the attached report of the Head of Scrutiny and Member Development.


The joint report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Planning, Policy and Improvement) and the Head of Scrutiny and Member Development informed the Board of the main areas of consideration for the second session into the Skills Inquiry.  It focused on the two main areas for this session, the Multi Area Agreement (MAA) and The Future of FE in Leeds.  Also appended to the report was a copy of the terms of reference for the Inquiry.


It was reported that the first session of the item would look at arrangements under the Multi Area Agreement.


The Chair welcomed the following to the meeting:


  • James Flanagan, Project Manager, Executive Support
  • Martin Dean, Deputy Chief Executive, Leeds Initiative
  • Rob Norreys, Acting Head of Regional Policy, Executive Support
  • Carson McCoombe. City of Bradford Council
  • Cristina George, Learning Skills Council
  • Ann Craven, Learning Skills Council
  • Mandy Crawford Lee, Learning Skills Council


In response to Members comments and questions, the following issues were discussed:


  • The skills related content of the MAA built on the base of the City Regions Development Programme.
  • The influence of the Leitch Review of Skills which identified the needs for improvement in skills to 2020.
  • The Leeds Metropolitan University study into the business and finance sector across the Leeds City Region (LCR).
  • How the MAA built on local strategies, tackled worklessness and how different economic areas could work together.
  • The role of the Leeds City Region Board and democratic accountability - it was reported that the LCR Board oversaw the MAA arrangements on a democratic basis, and though there were elements of the MAA outside local authority control, necessary checks and balances were in place. 
  • MAA Targets- How they could improve the local economy

-  A pilot scheme cohort of 200 Small and Medium Enterprises and numbers of staff with level 3 and 4 qualifications and skills.

-  Ways of measuring improvement – Annual Workforce Survey, numbers of extra qualifications delivered.

·  Raising the demand for learning.

  • Involvement of partner organisations – Learning Skills Council, Local Authorities, Job Centre Plus and Others.
  • How to improve people’s skills and raise the demand for learning.
  • Training initiatives such as Train to Gain.
  • How to work with Small and Medium Enterprises to understand their training needs, encourage the development of their workforce and enable them to gain accreditation for ‘in house’ training.
  • Involvement of Higher Education institutions.
  • Basic Mathematics and English training.
  • Comparisons of skill levels nationwide and the need for continued investment in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
  • Role of the Sector Skills Councils.


The Chair thanked those in attendance for the first part of the session and welcomed the following to the meeting to discuss the proposed Further Education (FE) College Merger in Leeds:


  • Cristina George – Learning Skills Council
  • Martin Dean, Deputy Chief Executive, Leeds Initiative
  • Ian Billyard, Principal – Leeds College of Building
  • Carolyn Wright, Principal – Joseph Priestly College


The Board was reminded of the merger of FE College merger which would see Park Lane, Thomas Danby and the Leeds College of Technology form the Leeds City College from January 2009.  The proposed merger had arisen as a result of a review of Fe in Leeds.  The Leeds College of Building and Joseph Priestly College had initially being included in the merger and had withdrawn.


Ian Billyard addressed the meeting and reported on the position in relation to the Leeds College of Building. There had been concerns regarding the proposed merger from Leeds College of Building and the Board of Governors had decided to remain independent. This decision had also been supported by their industry partners.


With regards to Joseph Priestly College, Carolyn Wright reported that the Board of Governors had concern that a robust case had not been made to merge all 5 colleges and that their focus on South Leeds, which the college currently catered for would no longer be met.


In brief summary, the following issues were discussed:


  • Differences between funding for young people and Adults.
  • Providing training for those not in education, employment or training (NEET).  It was reported that many learners who fell into the NEET category were training for basic skills and foundation learning.

Supporting documents: