Agenda item

Future Talent Plan Update

To receive an update from the Director of City Development on the progress that has been made in delivering against Future Talent Plan actions over the last 12 months.


The Scrutiny Board (Infrastructure, Investment & Inclusive Growth) received an initial update on the development of the Future Talent Plan in September 2022. The 2023/24 Scrutiny Board requested an update on progress made over the last 12 months against actions set out in the plan.


The Chair noted that members of the 2022/23 Scrutiny Board discussed a proposed refresh of the Inclusive Growth Strategy in March 2023, which was subsequently agreed on 20 September 2023. Members were asked to note the links between the Future Talent Plan and the refreshed Inclusive Growth Strategy.


Those in attendance for this item were:


-  Eve Roodhouse (Chief Officer, Culture and Economy)

-  Martyn Long (Head of Service, Employment and Skills)


Eve Roodhouse and Martyn Long delivered a presentation that covered the following matters:


-  The context of the Future Talent Plan

-  An overview of the work of the Employment and Skills service

-  Service performance for 2022/23

-  Four careers events at the First Direct Arena

-  Support to young people

-  Support for employers

-  Sector specific activities with a focus on digital, health and care, financial and professional services sectors

-  Activities linked to the journey to net zero.

-  Measuring success and next steps

-  Data and reporting


The Scrutiny Board considered the acceleration of the adoption of digital technology and the need for digital skills across all sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Concern was raised about the increased disadvantage within the labour market for those without digital skills.


Members sought reassurance about the support provided to those who are digitally excluded from the labour market including those experiencing language barriers or without access to IT equipment. In response, officers outlined work with partners across the city that seeks to remove such barriers and to target support towards those farthest from the labour market.


Having considered the anticipated employment and skills demands that may arise from the transition to net zero, members sought clarity about the potential impact on that work of recent government announcements on net zero.


Officers highlighted the importance of providing certainty about the pipeline of net zero projects in the city so that partners including the College of Building can demonstrate future demand for employees with particular skills. The Council is working with the Leeds Anchor Network to provide more certainly about net zero projects that will be delivered in the city.


Further information was requested about the number of people who accessed jobs and support through careers events at the First Direct Arena. It was noted that around 200 people directly secured employment as a result of attending one of the careers events. However, members were asked to note that not all attendees were seeking immediate employment and were instead looking for information that would inform future decisions about their employment opportunities. Officers agreed to share the evaluation of the four events at the First Direct Arena with scrutiny board members.


An update was provided on the approach to supporting new team members, particularly young people in the early stages of their career, given increased hybrid working practices. Reference was made to the strength of the induction programmes within Council services and the success of the Kickstart programme.  


In response to a question about the quality of new jobs coming into the city, members were advised that data is not currently available to provide a full picture of the nature of new jobs and the demography of the people securing them. Members were advised that such data could only be provided to the Scrutiny Board if partners were willing to share information about their employees.


Scrutiny Members welcomed the activities targeted towards young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including the SEND Next Choices event at Leeds First Direct Arena.


Reassurance was provided that the Future Talent Plan includes an ambition to support older people to return to the workforce – a partnership with a tech Bootcamp provider was cited as an example of this work.


The Scrutiny Board explored how the Council is working with partners including schools, voluntary, community and third sector groups to support more young people to access further education, training and employment opportunities. The Board was reassured that there is close working between the service and colleagues in Children’s Services to target “hard to reach” groups. The diversity of the audience attending the most recent digital careers festival highlighted the progress of this work.   


Officers were asked whether they have identified any data that indicates changing attitudes towards university considering increased costs. While officers had not identified any specific data to suggest a shift in attitudes towards university, it was noted that universities are now offering more technical and apprenticeship-style courses which is broadening their offer to students.


Other issues explored by the Board included:


-  The retention of students in the city and the draw for employers of a skilled workforce.


-  Emerging sectors and opportunities to re-skill employees to ensure they are positioned to access new jobs in sectors such as finance and digital, as well as the green economy.  


-  Sources of external funding for employment and skills programmes following the UK’s exit from the EU.


Members welcomed the progress to date in delivering the Future Talent Plan.





a)  Members noted progress made in delivering the collective ambitions set out in the Future Talent Plan.


b)  The Scrutiny Board requested that a further update on progress against the actions of the Future Talent Plan should be provided in 2024/25.

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