LSIP – Local Skills Improvement Plan – Sussex Chamber

Sussex Chamber of Commerce is delighted to have been chosen by the Department for Education as one of eight Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIPs) trailblazer chambers across the country.

The LSIP trailblazers overall purpose is to break down barriers between employers and education and skills providers by identifying the short, medium and long terms skills needs and in turn develop a more responsive local skills system.

Skills have never been a more important topic as we re-open our economy and lives in general and we start to address the post Covid and post Brexit world.

Over the next seven months the Sussex Chamber will work with providers, employers and employer representative groups, to identify these local needs and solutions to address them in our key sectors:

  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Digital
  • Visitor and Cultural Industries
  • Land-based
  • Health and Care

Like all Trailblazers our initial bid for funding was submitted to the Department for Education on 10 September and the project is currently in the initial mobilisation phase with the establishment of a project team and meeting and governance structure to ensure that the LSIP development is as collaborative as possible.

A Project Director is being appointed and will start at the end of September and further staffing support from data analysts, employer engagement and communications specialists is also being procured.

Initial meetings have been held with Local Enterprise Partnerships, FE Colleges and a range of other employer groups including the Institute of Directors (IoD), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and wider group of town and area chambers.

There is universal agreement that only through a collaborative and joined up approach will we generate a plan that truly recognises the skills needs, and almost more importantly, some of the solutions that colleges, universities and providers will need to implement in order to address these.

It is also recognised that we need to build on the intelligence and information that is already available, and this project will work closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Local Authorities and local skills groups to build on the wealth of existing evidence to develop an improvement plan that really will make a difference to Sussex’s productivity and prosperity.

In addition to this current data set Sussex Chamber are in discussions with NESTA, a social enterprise, to develop a skills taxonomy for our county’s key sectors to provide a kick off discussion piece with business leaders.

The team will develop a project plan, governance arrangements and initial meeting schedule by early October, where employer conversations will begin in earnest that month and these will continue until the New Year when the skills needs and potential solutions will be synthesised into the Skills Improvement Plan which will be submitted to government by the end of February 2022 with the plan signed off by government by May that year.

This plan will then be implemented by colleges, universities and the wider education provider network over the next three years, with the Sussex Chamber providing a key role in ensuring the agreed actions are implemented.

Two Chambers and two LEPs have agreed the following statement, alongside the Kent and Sussex FE Provider networks:

“Sussex and Kent Invicta Chambers of Commerce, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Southeast LEP are pleased to be working collaboratively on the development of two Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) trailblazers for Sussex and for Kent & Medway.

The relationship between the Chambers and the LEPs’ employer led Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs) will be key to understanding demand, with business representatives bringing a wealth of expertise and sector specific experience, and a commitment to understanding and tackling skills gaps.

Further Education partners from Sussex and Kent are also engaged to ensure colleges and providers are primed to consider approaches to respond to the emerging challenges.

The LSIPs will build on existing data and research activity from the SAPs to better understand skills shortages in priority sectors within the LSIP geographies. This joint approach will allow us to share lessons learned with other areas, notably Surrey and Essex which also fall within the two LEP areas.”

Ana Christie, CEO of Sussex Chamber added: “The Sussex Chamber led LSIP will play a key role in articulating employers’ skills needs, therefore helping to ensure our region can produce talented people needed to fill highly skilled jobs and keep the county at the forefront of technology and innovation. Innovation is key to improving productivity and creating highly skills jobs. The LSIP will help make sure the provision of technical training meets the future needs of employers.”

To get involved please email