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73. Delivering a skills and employment evidence base for South Yorkshire

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) commissioned Kada research to develop a robust skills and employment evidence base to help inform their Skills Strategy which has recently been published (https://southyorkshire-ca.gov.uk/skills-strategy). Skills and education are an essential tool to achieve inclusive economies and the evidence base highlights the importance of securing a strong start in early years as well as the importance of lifelong learning.

Kada’s report provided a detailed picture of South Yorkshire’s skills, education, and employment performance. Themes for the evidence base were identified through extensive engagement with stakeholders, learners, young people, and jobseekers. The consultations reached over 100 stakeholders across South Yorkshire mainly through seven in-person workshops. Smaller sessions were held with learners, young people, and jobseekers to gain an understanding of the challenges they faced regarding skills and employment and their support needs.

The qualitative evidence gathered was used to inform the second stage of the research – the comprehensive desk review and quantitative data analysis. A range of official data sources predominately from the Office for National Statistics and various Government Departments were used to analyse South Yorkshire’s performance. Data and sources beyond traditional economic and skills analysis such as for health data was also used due to the breadth of themes included.

The evidence base demonstrates that whilst there are significant challenges for South Yorkshire there are also many opportunities for the people and places of the sub-region. The evidence base extends beyond the traditional and presents a more holistic picture of skills and employment which reflects the diverse nature of the skills system as well as the nuance of South Yorkshire’s geography and history.

Building on the baseline the South Yorkshire Skills Strategy outlines seven flagship programmes which aim to move those outside the labour market into work or help them to be ready for work. It also aims to raise attainment of core knowledge and skills, as well as increasing the supply of a high-skilled workforce.

The evidence demonstrated the importance of skills and education throughout life and the potential for South Yorkshire if challenges are addressed. It highlighted the importance of skills to unlock labour markets and address inequalities. It is vital all people and places are given the chance to access these opportunities if we are to create inclusive economies.

Sophie Negus, Study Director

If you are thinking about commissioning a employment and skills research or if you would like to talk through an idea or hear about this work you can contact us at sophie@kadaresearch.co.uk.