What is the Local Skills Improvement Fund?


Date: 15th March 2024

The Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) is part of a long-term change programme. It is concerned with investing in the new facilities, provision and teaching expertise needed to deliver the skills priorities set out in the Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs). Both of which are a key part of the Government’s 10-year vision set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper.

The outcome of the LSIP has defined an agreed set of actionable priorities that employers, providers, and stakeholders in a local area can get behind to drive change. They have placed employers at the heart of local skills systems and facilitated direct and dynamic working arrangements between employers and providers.

The primary purpose of LSIF is to address the gap between what the sector delivers and the skills needed by the local labour market. We achieve this through strategic planning and investment in skills at an area-wide level. To meet this requirement, we have formed a collaborative group.


Who are members of the collaboration?


The following Further Education Institutions fall within the South-East Midlands region:

1. Milton Keynes College Group

2. Barnfield College

3. The Bedford College Group

4. Moulton College

5. Northampton College


How are we responding?


The collaboration of colleges in the South East Midlands region have agreed to work together to deliver a total of 4 projects: Green Jobs and Skills, Employer Communications, Tackling the Digital Skills Gap and Health and Science Capacity-Building.

The Employer Communications project looks to improve understanding and communication between employers and training providers which is why the Colleges of South East Midlands created the Delivering Skills, Boosting Business campaign.

We believe that key to the success of LSIP (and any activity between employers and training providers) is that employer partners notice a genuine change in the way providers seek to engage them. If employers see that the time, they are spending on influencing the skills landscape results in training that helps them with a more productive environment or overcomes challenges, then we will be in a great position to build on these relationships.

Communication is clearly key to this. Understanding the right channels, language and key pain points will help overcome some of the barriers to engaging with education, outlined in the LSIP, including the 23% of respondents who said they did not see the value in engaging with training providers.

It’s clear that the LSIP identified common frustrations from employers that colleges do not speak the language of business and a lack of understanding of training currently available. Our project has sought to unpick this and to understand any perceived barriers and how employers would like to engage with skills on an ongoing basis. Then we created the Delivering Skills,

Boosting Business respond to this, highlighting training already available and changing the narrative on any misconceptions.

Whilst we believe this will have a broad impact, it would obviously be foolish to assume that all employers in all sectors will have the same challenges or communication preferences. This is why we are looking to dive into four other LSIP priority sectors (Green Skills, Digital, Healthcare and Logistics) to undertake deeper research and gain a great level of understanding, working to establish Sector Boards, so that relationships can develop over time. These sectors are also being prioritised for our other LSIF projects, helping us to amplify the work we are doing.