NIACE welcomes new LEP Network Chair

25 March 2014

Ahead of the national Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Network conference, at which Chairman of the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP, Alex Pratt, was confirmed as the new Chair of the LEP Network, NIACE welcomed the appointment and is continuing to work with LEPs across the country.

LEPs have recently submitted drafts of their Strategic Economic Plans to Government, including proposals for using substantial devolved European Social Fund resources to support their skills strategies.

Alongside this, NIACE has recently warned of the risks to LEPs’ skills plans from the substantial cuts confirmed to the national adult skills budget, and is supporting LEPs nationally in tackling the supply and demand challenges this creates in the skills system.

NIACE has worked productively with the LEP Network in recent months, as well as leading a national programme of work with the UK Commission on Employment and Skills to improve LEP skills strategies through better labour market analytics.

The Institute has also recently led pioneering work on STEM Traineeships with the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership showing how a national skills programme can be best adapted to suit local economic needs.

Tom Stannard, NIACE Director of Communications and Public Affairs, said:

“We are pleased to welcome Alex Pratt as the incoming Chair of the LEP Network, and look forward to continuing the positive working relationship between NIACE, the LEP Network, and individual LEPs across the country.

“There are tough times ahead for LEPs as they look to re-balance their Strategic Economic Plans to better reflect skills needs of employers and their local populations, alongside transport, housing and infrastructure priorities.

“The pressure on the adult skills budget represents a colossal challenge for LEPs’ skills ambitions, and it is critical that LEPs are equal to the task of developing and delivering skills plans that properly reflect the needs and opportunity across the whole of their local labour market.

“We look forward to continuing to support the LEP Network in tackling this challenge to help underpin economic recovery for the UK.”