There are three ways that an organisation can view Labour Market Insight (LMI). The first is to see a collection of data, nice to have perhaps, but not much more and not worth spending too much time with. The second is to see it as containing useful information that might be used to solve a particular problem the organisation has. The third is to see it as indispensable insight; an integral part of driving the organisation towards fulfilling its mission. Experience shows that when organisations view it in this third way, the benefits they and ultimately their stakeholders receive are enormous.
Judging by their recent use of data, we can safely say that West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) belong in the third category. We wrote recently about how they have been using Emsi data to map the new T-Level routes to the labour market in the Leeds City Region, in order to help ensure provision that matches local needs. Their view of LMI as a key part of fulfilling their mission has now been seen in yet another innovative use of data, this time in helping them win two applications to manage and deliver EU funded projects in the Leeds City Region.
Although WYCC has been in existence for 14 years, in the past 18 months the structure of the group has altered and it is now a more formal joint venture. One of the things that this means in practical terms is that instead of the group’s bids for funds being spearheaded by one of its seven colleges, with successful bids run by that college, WYCC is now the central bidding vehicle for funding within the region. These two successful applications – Widening Participation in Higher Level Skills (£3.5m) and Skills Support for In-Work Claimants (£2m) – are the first successful bids for funding under the new joint venture arrangement, and both drew heavily on LMI.
How they used the data
Both projects fall within Priority 2.1 of the European Structural and Investment Funds, which sets out the aim of:
“Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning for all age groups in formal, non-formal and informal settings, upgrading the knowledge, skills & competencies of the workforce, and promoting flexible learning pathways including through career guidance & validation of acquired competencies”.
WYCC see LMI as a crucial element of fulfilling these criteria, since understanding labour market demand in the region is key to underpinning the opportunities to develop new provision and pilot new innovation that both projects afford. So, for instance, in the Widening Participation in Higher Level Skills project, LMI will be used to:
- Research the highest value adding industries and growth occupations at Level 4 and above
- Identify openings and jobs in technical routes against priority growth occupations in the Leeds City Region and growth in demand at Level 4 and above
- Develop infographics using key data to promote key occupations and run targeted campaigns
For Skills Support for In-Work Claimants, one element of the project requires WYCC to support low skilled, low paid workers to receive flexible and varied skills training that will support career progression, enhance social mobility and reduce benefit dependency. WYCC are using insight to isolate the lower skilled occupations in the City Region and to identify industries and employers that have a lower skilled workforce. According to their application:
“LMI will be instrumental in providing detailed knowledge of the local and regional labour market and will be utilised in order to ensure that the needs of local business are met as well as helping drive the creation of a better more highly skilled and productive workforce. LMI will also inform the curriculum planning and content. Data from the LEP’s Regional Economic Intelligence Unit, Emsi and the institution’s own will be used to analyse the current curriculum offer in institutions against jobs, openings and projected changes, in order to evidence where there is alignment, where there are gaps, and therefore where institutions should focus and grow the curriculum to better align with current and future market demand for skills.”
According to Louise Tearle, Partnership Director for WYCC:
“These two projects are part of a longer term strategy for the consortium which is to provide a collaborative vehicle for the colleges. The projects and funding which the collaboration secures will be used to enhance the college offer to students, employers, businesses and the city region improving the colleges engagement with employers and their ability to respond to meet their skills priorities and to diversify their income streams. The WYCC has secured significant funding using LMI to powerfully demonstrate awareness of the skills and employment needs in Leeds City Region and how it will address those needs.”
For more information on how our data can help you back up your funding bids, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org