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Business to benefit as Hampshire Chamber wins skills contract

September 21, 2022

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has won a major government contract designed to equip businesses with the skills they need to grow and prosper. Ministers have designated the independent business membership organisation as the ‘employer representative body’ to lead a local skills improvement plan (LSIP) in the Solent.

Under the plan, the Chamber will use its convening power and knowledge of the local business landscape to bring stakeholders together to address long-standing skills challenges. Key players such as employers, colleges, LEPs, universities, local authorities, and other business organisations will work together to align labour market needs more closely with training provision and skills support programmes.

Ross McNally, Hampshire Chamber’s Chief Executive and Executive Chairman, said:

“In successive member surveys we have done over the past decade, skills gaps have been cited as one of the most pressing issues for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).  Now, in leading the local skills improvement plan, we have the opportunity to truly make a difference and enhance the essential workplace skills needed by businesses.

We will work with our partners to help all sectors in Hampshire including marine, engineering, digital, creative, hospitality and healthcare – any industry where employers are articulating a need for better skills.  And we will do this is in an inclusive way, reaching out to diverse business communities and supporting greater sustainability on the journey to net zero.

This is all about creating a managed framework of learning pathways and a business-led community of practice in developing skills.”

The LSIP will feature elements such as a new skills leadership board, a peer network for employers to work together on shared needs, an employer needs assessment tool, a case study resource, and a ‘one-stop-shop’ of accessible information for learners.

The Department for Education has made an initial fund of £365,000 available for the Chamber to develop the LSIP in collaboration between now and May 2023. A further £185,000 will come on stream to keep the plan refreshed and support stakeholder engagement from June 2023 to March 2025.

Hampshire Chamber’s LSIP work in the Solent will be supported by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce. In a separate LSIP across the EM3 Local Enterprise Partnership area, Hampshire Chamber will play a supporting role to Surrey Chamber of Commerce. Altogether, the government has announced 38 English LSIPs, with 32 of them being led by local chambers of commerce.

Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Closing the skills gaps across English regions and sectors will help build all communities.”

For more information on Hampshire Chamber, call 01329 242420 or visit www.hampshirechamber.co.uk

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