Education and Skills
Surveys show that access to skilled labour remains a top priority and a major concern for Sheffield City Region businesses.
By skills, it means both technical knowledge and employability skills. This has been particularly acute in STEM based subjects and applied business skills, albeit general understanding about what is involved in starting up and running ones own business is often not understood.
In general terms academic education routes from Level 2 through to Level 4/5/6 degrees are well established, but they do not meet the needs of all employers.
Sheffield Chamber has lobbied extensivly for alternative vocational based routes of equal esteem, generally done in employed status, but culminating in Level 4/5/6 degree equivalents completed at University. The Sainsburys report was a significant milestone in recommending apprentice based routes right through to Level 4/5/6 and since its publication the Chamber has worked hard with both FE and HE partners to make Sheffield one of the best cities in the UK in which to follow these pathways.
We are a founding member of the first University Technical College in Sheffield, which has since grown into a UTC Multi Academy Trust with three UTC’s, one being in Derby. They are forward looking, vocational based education centres, focused on producing the employees of tomorrow and utilising very high employer input. They are classed as being amongst the top UTC’s in the country and regularly win international awards at World Skills competitions. Despite a very mixed intake, the UTC’s in Sheffield have never produced a NEET clearly demonstrating the power of vocational education as a route to social mobility.
In 2019, Sheffield Chamber opened the first Business and Enterprise Academy at The Sheffield College. The academy aims to help young people understand what is involved in starting their own business and aid them through the first steps. This partnership is a national first of its type and is a true partnership between business and education.