Learning Ecosystems: A new model for levelling up skills in Doncaster
This report seeks to explore how a place-based approach to education and skills can transform lifelong learning. This builds on the experience and practice of partners in Doncaster to establish a local ‘Talent and Innovation Ecosystem’.
Raising skill levels is a key driver behind Doncaster’s strategy to level up deep-seated inequalities in the borough, improve social mobility, address poor health outcomes, boost productive growth, and include all individuals and communities in the benefits of a more prosperous economy
8 March 2022
Key recommendations of the report include:
Team Doncaster should:
Bring a sharper focus to the needs of adult learners already in the workforce by targeting skill gaps in those sectors with growth potential.
Consider the demand for bespoke ‘bite-sized’ learning modules and microcredentials to be co-developed with employers and co-delivered by higher and further education.
Pursue a high-level growth strategy and consider how the wider functions of job brokerage, workforce development, business support and inward investment should be integrated with the TIE.
Identify and target larger firms in the borough, to understand their workforce development needs and provide a bespoke solution to skill gaps and on-the-job training.
Aim to attract an applied research institution to increase R&D activity and generate greater levels of knowledge transfer in the local economy.
Develop a dashboard of ‘real time’ information that can effectively assess the supply of skills training and inform decisions about future strategy and investment.
Introduce a statutory right to retrain regardless of prior attainment, to support even more working adults in deprived areas to progress along the skills escalator.
Remove all restrictions on engaging in training for individuals receiving welfare benefits.
Consider both loan and maintenance support for the Lifelong Loan entitlement.
Enable the Lifelong Loan Entitlement to provide a single system that can bridge between modules, including microcredentials, at various levels, including post-graduate.
Pilot a Local Skills Account co-developed with Partners in Doncaster.
Pause the decision to defund BTECs indefinitely until the T Level programme is more established.
Enshrine a clearly defined role for local and combined authorities in LSIFs.
Enable a ‘big data’ approach to skills planning by allowing anonymised learner data to be freely accessed and analysed at the local level.
Introduce high-quality Career Development Hubs in priority areas for levelling up.
Introduce levy flexibilities and tax incentives in high-skilled ‘cold spots’ to address skill gaps in exportable growth sectors.
Retain the match funding element in future succession funds to ESF/ERDF.
Introduce a ‘licence to innovate’ – to develop a local Curriculum, Credentialing, and Assessment framework, working with and running parallel to national assessments.
Create a ‘Local Skills Development Fund’ tied to the operation of LSIPs.
Trial place-based budgeting, giving local leaders full flexibility and accountability for integrated spending and investment across economic and social policy, with a focus on education and skills.
Extend the scope of the Education Investment Areas to look at wider outcomes for lifelong learning (levels 4-6) and the ‘cradle to career’ journey.