One of the many ways West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) has used Emsi data is in their bid-writing. By using robust insight to demonstrate that they have a good grasp of the skills needs in particular sectors in the region, the group has been able to add solid evidence to many of their submissions, and this has helped them achieve much success in bidding for funds and new contracts.
More recently, WYCC has found another innovative way of using Labour Market Insight (LMI) in the bid process, only this time it is as the tenderer rather than the bidder. The group has launched a series of competitive tendering opportunities, funded by the European Social Fund, inviting specialist training providers to design, develop and deliver a series of pilot conversion skills projects in key sectors, or action research projects to help drive in-work progression for those trapped in low pay and low skilled jobs, with insight being used to set the tender in the context of regional skills needs.
Each tender has been developed and influenced by national and regional skills priorities, within the context of strong collaboration with employers, industry and education. Although tenders have been released for a number of sectors, particular focus has been placed on the following three, as these have been identified by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership as the core enablers to unlock sustained economic and business growth and boost productivity:
Infrastructure/Construction – Including transformational projects that help deliver the National Industrial Strategy.
Digital Technology – Supporting the region’s ambition to become the graduate capital for tech skills by attracting and growing talent in coding/software and data analysis.
Manufacturing – Addressing replacement demand, and supporting the growth of high level innovation.
Using LMI to Build a Robust Business Case
Since the purpose of each tender is to bring in a specialist provider to pilot a training scheme in a particular sector, WYCC wanted to ensure that they laid out a robust business case for why the scheme was needed in the first place.
In order to achieve this, the group used Emsi’s regional insight in their commissioning brief documents, including general insight on the sector as a whole, as well as more particular insight showing the skills that are most demanded by employers in the sector.
A Look at the Digital Sector
To get a better idea of what WYCC has done, we can take a look at one of the priority sectors mentioned on the previous page – Digital Technology.
The commissioning brief for this sector begins by looking at the national context, which can be summed as the UK experiencing unprecedented growth across the industry, with demand for Digital skills continues to outstrip supply. More specifically, technological trends in the sector indicate a need for knowledge and skills particularly in cyber security, mobile and cloud computing, big data, and social media.
The brief then goes onto look at the regional picture, and again Digital jobs are predicted to grow over the coming years, well ahead of non-Digital jobs, and with employer demand vastly outstripping skills supply. But what actually are these in-demand jobs? It is here that the insight offered by Emsi comes into play, particularly Job Posting Analytics (JPA), which enabled WYCC to get a direct handle on the occupations that employers in the region are looking for.
For instance, according to the data, from the start of 2016 to the end of 2017, there were more than 32,000 computing jobs advertised in the Leeds City Region, with the most sought after positions being Programmers and software development professionals (17,680 unique postings) and Web design and development professionals (6,884 unique postings). So there is clearly high employer demand for such positions.
However, in addition to being able to highlight in-demand jobs, JPA data also gives an extra layer of insight by identifying the actual skills elements of these jobs, and so reveals in far more detail what employers in the region are really looking for. In terms of the Digital sector, WYCC found that the ten most sought after skills that regional employers are looking in the Digital sector are as follows:
Information Security • Management • Networking • Testing • Infrastructure • Automation • Server (Computer Science) • Communications • Agile Software Development • SQL (Programming)
The Benefits of Using Robust LMI to Shape Competitive Tendering Opportunities
Using this sort of insight means that WYCC are not only able to build the background case for why the pilot schemes are needed, but it also helps to ensure that the responses to the tenders are from the kinds of specialist organisations who really can address the actual skills needs in the region. In other words, by including the kind of robust regional data, which can identify both in-demand jobs and skills competencies, the chances of finding a solution to the skills gaps in these sectors is significantly increased.
According to Rachel Mather, WYCC’s Research & Development Project Manager:
We are very excited about these pilot projects, because they really do have the potential to help fix skills shortages in vital sectors. This is why we wanted to go above and beyond just an invitation to tender, because by setting out the skills context behind them, we can ensure that those seeking to bid know exactly what is needed. Emsi’s data has proved to be very helpful to us in achieving this.
You can download a PDF of this case study here. If you would like to know more about how our data can help your institution in its bid-writing and competitive tendering, get in touch.