Liverpool educators urged to fill SuperPort skills gap
Birkenhead trade body Mersey Maritime Group (MMG) has issued a call to action for educational institutions to provide the necessary skills to support growth in the North West.
Schools, colleges, universities and learning providers were urged to ensure the future workforce is equipped with the skills needed to support plans for the Liverpool SuperPort, which hopes to drive economic growth.
Plans for the Liverpool City Region SuperPort were first outlined in 2011, and will see major investment in the region’s ports, airport, road and rail assets over the next 10 years.
MMG’s chief executive Jim Teasdale was a major player in producing part of Liverpool City Region’s Skills for Growth Annual Report, which was recently published by the Employment and Skills Board (ESB) for Liverpool.
As a member of the SuperPort committee and sector representative on the ESB, Mr Teasdale led on the Skills for Growth Agreement, which has been produced for key sectors and employment locations within the City Region.
Mr Teasdale said the City Region will be able to deliver step changes in performance across the region with £12bn of investment planned over the next 10 years, and the hope of creating 100,000 jobs by 2025.
The SuperPort plans encompass a range of sectors including construction, engineering and logistics, while significant job creation is expected in process, plant and machinery.
Despite these expectations, MMG has called for skills providers to invest in specific, high calibre training to safeguard the region’s future.
Mr Teasdale commented: “The SuperPort Skills for Growth Agreement aims to identify current and future skills needs across our maritime sector.
“It will be used as a planning framework to enable local schools, colleges, learning providers and universities to plan courses and educational provision which is likely to create a large number of employment opportunities in the coming years.
“It will also provide parents, learners and job seekers with a better understanding of the future job opportunities within the City Region.”
Huge investment in the marine sector will create a considerable demand for specific skills over the next decade.
Mr Teasdale continued: “Our SuperPort will in a relatively short time require around 20,000 more skilled people.
“This will ensure we can transport ever increasing volumes of freight by air, rail, road and river, canal and sea.
“The work to develop these skilled people needs to start now if we are to cement the Mersey’s reputation as a key global gateway and unleash the full potential of our airport, port and logistics hubs.”
MMG will act as a skills broker to ensure the marine sector skills demand is made known to educational bodies, as well as working with port operator Peel Ports Mersey, who signed an agreement with MMG in 2012 to provide job-specific training within the region.
Mr Teasdale added: “The latest report presents a terrific opportunity for skills providers, like our own Maritime and Engineering College North West (MECNW), to match courses with the demand for skills.
“However, there is now a large responsibility on suppliers to invest in the relevant Kitemark and Best in Class accreditations to deliver the calibre of training required.
“As skills brokers, Mersey Maritime Group aims to inform learning providers about apprenticeship frameworks related to SuperPort and specific details on investment projects including job roles and numbers. We can further advise on funding packages.”
Richard Else, operations director for Jaguar Land Rover and ESB chairman, said: “Through investment we have proven we have the potential to create jobs in the City Region, but as a pre-condition of any investment, we need to have the right skills mix available.
“For too long, our skills system has been stuck in a vicious circle, with businesses finding that the skills delivered by schools, colleges and universities don’t always meet their needs, but not always being fully clear about what skills should be delivered.
“The report marks a break with this and the opportunity to be absolutely clear about what the economy needs and to get on with delivering a skills for growth programme.”
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .