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Tackling national skills shortages

The LGA, with the support of DLUHC funding, is launching a skills hubs programme targeted at five occupational skill shortage areas.

In response, to address the unprecedented workforce challenges that councils are facing, the LGA, with the support of Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) funding, is launching a skills hubs programme targeted at five occupational skill shortage areas.

The programme brings local authorities together to work collaboratively rather than on an individual basis and will assist councils with workforce planning. This work will deliver support to councils to establish initiatives such as skills hubs, produce skills pathway plans and join up existing solutions.  

Application deadline: Thursday 31 August 2023

Complete the skills pathways programme application form

There will be support available across five occupational shortage areas:

  • legal
  • environmental health
  • digital and ICT
  • finance
  • civil engineering.

Aims of the programme

The skills hubs will aim to deliver the following:

  1. Identify any existing skills pathway practice from across the sector
  2. Identify the occupational skills gap in the sector over the next three years
  3. Identify/clarify the qualifications needed to address the skill shortage matched to jobs/career grades
  4. Identify and work with the relevant partners e.g., professional bodies, providers, DLUHC, government agencies, national TUs, education bodies etc
  5. Identify any gaps in local, regional and/or national training provision 
  6. Identify barriers and challenges to progression and retention within the profession e.g., survey the profession (optional)
  7. Identify/develop specific apprenticeship standards / solutions to address capacity (demand)
  8. Create the national business case for solutions to address the capacity challenge (e.g., funding for development programmes & recruitment if required)
  9. Disseminate learning and practice e.g., develop a practice network, webinars, guidance etc

Benefits of participating in this programme

  • Participation in a national workforce programme to benefit the wider local government sector
  • Designed pathways to deliver future progression routes into skill shortage areas
  • Councils will receive LGA capacity support to deliver and address their occupational shortage areas
  • Addressing critical workforce challenges across the local government sector and enable wider knowledge sharing
  • Developing new relationships with councils outside of their usual regional boundaries
  • The opportunity to be part of a case study focussing on skills pathways

Programme scope

  1. The support programme aims to work with up to 45 English councils across five occupational skill shortage areas with a minimum of six councils per national skills hub to share resources to deliver and address the occupational capacity challenge.
  2. The LGA is seeking one council to lead per skills hub. LGA capacity to each skills hub and up to £10k funding to each of the lead councils to support project management will be provided.
  3. The skills hubs will be set up to enable councils to work together over a nine month period to start to shape solutions to tackle national workforce capacity issues in the chosen occupational skill shortages area.
  4. The skills hubs will take an apprenticeship first approach and focus on the use of the levy

Lead councils

Each lead council will provide:

  • project management support (co-ordination of meetings/associated docs)
  • contact other councils to identify existing practice
  • analytics support to undertake any research
  • attend and contribute to meetings with partners and providers
  • help to identify appropriate providers
  • co-ordinate the pooling of apprenticeship levy funding
  • support the dissemination and share learning and practice

Skills hub selection criteria and requirements

  1. Lead councils will be selected from principal authorities that apply.
  2. Councils may apply to join one skills hub only.
  3. We will aim to ensure that each skills hub has fair geographical representation from across all English regions to ensure national solutions are developed.
  4. Each skills hub will have a minimum of six but no more than nine councils as members.
  5. Each council will need to assign a key officer for communication purposes, with deputies in place as and when needed.
  6. Participation will need to be endorsed by the director of people/resources of each council.
  7. Each council to complete and submit a project initiation application.
  8. Each council to submit a statement of intent providing reasons for their request to join their chosen skills hub.
  9. Each participating council agrees to trial the skills pathway as appropriate.
  10. Each council agrees to participate in the evaluation of this programme.

The local government workforce

The local government workforce is larger and more varied than is generally perceived. There are over 1.3 million people working directly in local government and many more working for outsourced service providers or related employers. With 800 different professions within the local government remit, the sector is arguably the most occupationally diverse in the country. Costing councils over £20 billion a year, the local government workforce is generally held to be the sector's greatest asset and most significant cost.

The Local Government Workforce Survey 2022 provides the most recent overview of workforce capacity challenges (including recruitment and retention difficulties) being experienced by the sector.