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Bucks university try to close skills gap

A Skills Advisory Panel has been created to tackle a post COVID-19 work environment

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 8:00am 18th July 2020. (Updated at 12:32pm 20th July 2020) 2-minute read.

Bucks university try to close skills gap

An advisory panel wants to tackle the skills gap in Buckinghamshire. 

Buckinghamshire New University's Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gavin Brooks has been appointed Chair of The Skills Advisory Panel. 

Buckinghamshire's employers, like every area's, requires people who fit the skills requirements. 

However, Professor Brooks says the county struggles with this:

"We do know in Buckinghamshire there is a significant skills shortage, and skills gap, that is greater than the UK average.

"One of the reasons for this is we have very few 24-30-year-old's relative to other counties and that is primarily I think because it is a very expensive place to live. So many residents who do work, and live in the county, about 42% commute out for that work."

This panel has local employers and education providers join together to look at the skills challenges and see how they can be addressed. 

However, this has expanded to look at people who have lost their job as a response to COVID-19, including those who may need to retrain or transfer their skills. 

The SAP meets quarterly and reports to the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board. 

Figures from the LEP show 28% of Buckinghamshire residents are currently furloughed and that 36% of residents still in employment are receiving a form of job-related government support.

Professor Brooks explained the pandemic has created a huge area of concern for residents:

"With COVID-19 there are additional challenges, particularly with respect to a number of people losing their jobs and a number of quite big industrial areas closing down.

"What we are trying to do is look at how skills can be transferred. A good example is with Heathrow closing, aviation skills are equally valuable if they are transferred over to the film making industry. "

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