Pledge to nominate: How Humber LEP’s Skills Pledge won an award and you could too!

16 May 2016

As nominations for this year’s Festival of Learning close this Friday, Teresa Chambers, Executive Director of Employment and Skills at  Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), reflects on the incredible journey they have been on since receiving last year’s covered President’s Award for their Humber Skills Pledge Project.

 

The journey started, for me, when I arrived back at work from a relaxing Easter break in the sunshine.  My colleague, Peter, met me in the doorway with a smile – “We’ve won an award,” he began.  My memory, slightly hazy from a week walking, reeled; “What Award?”

 

This is when I learned that the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) had indeed won an award – and what an award at that!  The LEP had been nominated by regional partners for our work on the Humber Skills Pledge Project, and were subsequently awarded the coveted Adult Learners’ Week President’s Award – all without our knowledge!

 

Our award winning Skills Pledge project underpins the whole Humber Employment and Skills Strategy. It simplifies the way that businesses can contribute to developing and raising skills by using one of six pledges:

1.invest in the skills of their workforce,

2. mentor a budding entrepreneur,

3. offer work-experience,

4. employ a graduate,

5. offer an apprenticeship / traineeship

6. support the development of employability skills.

 

The LEP has consistently used the Pledge to open up business conversations, resulting in over 360 pledges that have benefitted local residents, such as the 18-24 year olds who are furthest away from the labour market and are engaged with the Springboard programme which funds the coordination of the Pledge. The four LEP Local Authorities are responsible for the delivery of Springboard and are all united in their promotion and support of the Skills Pledge.

 

This amazing success has been achieved because of the collaboration and participation of many partners who work together to ‘demystify’ the skills package.  We’ve found that many employers wish to actively engage and support skills initiatives but tell us that there is too much complexity, too much bureaucracy and they simply don’t know where to start.

 

Receiving the President’s Award was fantastic recognition and celebration of the entire partnership and also the first time a region had won such an award.  This impressive result resonated through the partnership, and our provider partners and businesses could see directly how their involvement had created a powerful and effective tool.

 

The Awards themselves were an amazing experience, a glittering and very moving event.  Hearing the personal stories of individuals who had often faced adversity prior to participating in learning was hugely inspirational.

 

The long term impact of the Award has also been extremely positive; promoting our project on the national stage has increased partners’ support to promote the Skills Pledge, businesses not previously signed up have joined the campaign and other LEPs have contacted us to learn more about the process.

 

I strongly urge people to get fully behind this year’s Festival of Learning by nominating inspirational learners, projects, tutors and businesses – giving them the recognition and profile they deserve and the launch pad to take them, their project or their business to the next level!

 

To nominate please visit www.festivaloflearning.org.uk

 

The Festival of Learning is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) to help publicise ESF activities and outputs. The ESF is a European Union initiative that supports activities to improve employment opportunities, promote social inclusion and invest in skills. So far, the current ESF programme in England has committed over £1.2 billion to jobs and skills.  Funding is being used to:

 

  • help young people, jobseekers and inactive people access employment;
  • tackle barriers to work faced by disadvantaged people; and
  • invest in education, skills and lifelong learning.

 

You can find out more at gov.uk/european-growth-funding