Whether we’re talking about apprenticeships, upskilling, new T-Level work placements, or other partnership activities, employer engagement is one of the most important things that an education and training provider does. Yet very often, because establishing which employers to engage is difficult, the approach taken by many providers is not only time-consuming, it is perhaps not as strategic or targeted as they would ideally like.
We believe that there is an approach that is more methodical, and which can help your organisation not only save time, but also really reach the right employers. That approach uses Labour Market Insight (LMI) to identify both industry and occupation trends to answer the following crucial questions
• How can we hone in on the sectors that are most likely to be responsive?
• How can we establish what sorts of occupation and therefore training needs these industries have?
• How can we identify actual employers within these sectors, and understand what their skills needs are?
Throughout this three part series, we want to show you how Labour Market Insight can be used to help you achieve this:
Part 1: We’ll show you how you can identify which industries are growing in your region, and so are more likely to respond to your attempts to engage with them.
Part 2: We’ll demonstrate how you can dig into these growth industries to establish what their occupational needs are.
Part 3: We’ll shows you how you can then find out more about the employers in these sectors, including where they are based, how many people they employ, and which jobs and skills they are looking for.
Identify Industry Needs in Your Region
Perhaps the biggest challenge in employer engagement is simply that of knowing which businesses to target. Anecdotally, many providers say that by necessity, they take something of a scattergun approach of simply calling names on a list. Needless to say, this is hardly very satisfactory method, being neither very targeted nor very practical. How can the process be made more efficient?
The answer lies in being able to identify the employers in your region who are most likely to be responsive to your engagement. Of course, this is something of a broad answer, since willingness to respond will differ from business to business, sometimes depending on the strategy of the organisation, and quite often simply on the people it employs. It will always be the case that certain companies will be more open to engagement than others.
But putting aside issues of strategy and personnel, all other things being equal, which types of businesses are most likely to be open to engage with an education provider on issues such as apprenticeships, industry specialisms, work placements etc? Generally speaking, it is likely to be those businesses which are currently growing or which are projected to grow over the next few years. In fact, not only are these the businesses that are most likely to engage with an education and training provider, but they are also the ones who – because of their growing employment needs – are most in need of the services a provider can offer.
To get an idea of which organisations these might be, we really need to start by identifying which industries are growing, or which are set to see growth over the coming years. To do this, we can turn to our local Labour Market Insight (LMI), which is able to delve down into both occupation and industry data at the most specific levels of classification (SOC and SIC 4), and at the lowest geographical areas (down to Local Authority).
In the table below, we have picked out the Top 10 industries, according to projected job growth between 2017 and 2022, for the Enterprise M3 LEP region:
Of course, this is only a sample of data from one particular region. But what it shows is how granular, local data can start you off on your employer engagement journey, by identifying which sectors in your region are projected to grow, and are therefore likely to be responsive. Once you have established this, you can then begin to delve into these growth sectors to identify the occupations that they employ, which we’ll demonstrate in Part 2.
We’d love to hear about how you are currently engaging employers, the specific challenges you are having, and whether we can help make this process more targeted.