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GRO2 - Delivering skills and talent development

GRO2 - Delivering skills and talent development


The development of people's skills and talents is at the heart of the strategy for economic growth in Plymouth. The Plan provides an accessible environment for high quality lifelong learning which helps people to progress in their working lives, whilst also contributing to their personal sense of wellbeing and ability to contribute to their community and city.

Photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng
Photo by Wes Hicks


The city will provide an accessible environment for high quality lifelong learning so that all of its residents have the opportunity to access learning to develop their skills and talents in order to progress in their working lives and develop their careers, contributing to the realisation of Plymouth's economic potential. In particular:

  1. Develop, attract and retain a highly skilled and adaptable workforce by:
    1. Enhancing the education, skills, and learning opportunities, so as to to improve the economic potential and outcomes of our workforce by working to strengthen the partnerships between the city's education institutions, communities and employers to match skill levels with demand.
    2. Effectively matching skills with demand by enhancing 'advice, employability matching and mentoring' schemes, so as to maximise employment outcomes and reduce skills gaps for employers.
    3. Driving entrepreneurship and promoting management excellence, so as to maximise business competitiveness and productivity.
    4. Encouraging recruitment, retention and development of all sections of society.
  2. Enterprise and innovation will be driven by:
    1. Supporting the removal of barriers to innovative development, training, growth and expansion, business start-up and advice.
    2. Monitoring, communicating and supporting sector specific skills gaps and their interventions.
    3. Growing, attracting and retaining STEM and low carbon talent, and increasing the proportion of STEM and low carbon qualifications in the city so as to match significant demand.
  3. People will be helped to prepare for and progress in work by:
    1. Streamlining and co-ordinating high quality training and education courses to ensure there is a fair and relevant city-wide offer.
    2. Improving learner access to employability skills and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and low carbon subjects.
    3. Improving learner access to core skills, including English, Mathematics, ICT, green, interpersonal, life/social, relationships and customer skills.
    4. Providing pre-vocational targets for people who can't meet academic targets and providing support to enable those with additional needs to prepare for and progress in work.
  4. Learning environments will be provided that equip people with the skills they need by:
    1. Ensuring that new school places are provided to accommodate growth in the city’s population, through a planned approach to expansion and where necessary, through identifying locations for new schools.
    2. Developing an employer led system, to ensure the city’s skills supply matches demand and residents are productively and sustainably employed.
    3. Placing the assets, facilities, talent and expertise of the city’s higher and further education providers at the heart of business growth.
    4. Using planning powers to help address skills deficiencies and training needs, particularly in the construction industry and to support STEM skills development where appropriate.


The development of people's skills and talents is at the heart of the strategy for economic growth whilst also strongly supporting its vision of a healthy and international city. Fundamentally, lifelong learning helps people to progress in their working lives, whilst also contributing to their personal sense of wellbeing and ability to contribute to their community and city.

Economic growth depends on the availability of the right skill levels, in the right place, at the right time. Within the city of Plymouth there is a strong network of schools, colleges and higher education institutions providing a talented workforce with a wealth of skills, knowledge resource and innovation that supports the city’s growth. City College Plymouth for example, has excellent established relationships with local employers and provides innovative, skills based vocational education, training and apprenticeships linked to future employment opportunities in the city. This offer is further enhanced with their STEM Regional Centre of Excellence which opened in September 2017. Plymouth University and City College are part of a Peninsula bid for an Institute of Technology that will enhance our offer to both residents, our employers and add further incentives to outside investors.

There is also a healthy vocational offer from independent training providers with good and excellent quality training that also delivers apprenticeships and traineeships. Collectively across private, Further Education and Higher Education provision our apprenticeship offer has now extended from Intermediate and higher to Degree Apprenticeships.

The aspiration of the city in general and that of the Employment and Skills Board in particular is that employers and educators work in strong partnership to develop the highest possible levels of skills linked to our economic strengths and plans and meet this demand and address any market failure in supply to meet demand in the process. This is a vital component of fulfilling Plymouth's strategic role as the urban driver of economic growth across the South West, recognised nationally and internationally as Britain's Ocean City.

Evidence shows that there is demand from employers for new recruits as our companies and businesses grow. Evidence also shows that there is a need to replace an ageing workforce combined with the need to become increasingly more productive to remain competitive and gain market advantage.

Sectors where this is particularly prominent is advanced manufacturing and marine, defence, health and medical science, construction and the built environment, digital and hospitality. The prospect of leaving the European Union also needs to be considered in relation to certain workforces who rely on foreign labour (across a number of skills levels); this may increase gaps dependent on Government policy going forward.

Whilst transformational projects such as Hinkley Point will offer opportunities in key sectors (nuclear, construction, transport and logistics), there will also be a potential 'backfill' issue as people move from a job to one with more or better prospects. The city launched a STEM strategy in 2017, with three key elements: Grow, Keep and Attract STEM talent. This is a positive way of approaching the future and being able to help minimise risk of these threats and support our STEM skill base which makes up 60% of our workforce. Our STEM Board and supporting groups will ensure the delivery of this city wide strategy and demonstrate our ability to work in partnership to address common skills demands.

Policy DEV19 of the Joint Local Plan will enable planning powers to be used, where appropriate and linked to development proposals and their impacts, to support wider objectives for skills and talent development.

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