Skills East Sussex

1. Skills East Sussex

Skills East Sussex (SES) is the county’s strategic body for employment and skills. The group aims to drive an improvement in local employment and skills in order to increase economic prosperity in East Sussex. Using a firm evidence base, it agrees and sets priorities, and provides direction for the county’s approach to employment and skills.

SES has identified a number of sectors and issues where it wants to make a difference by working together. SES is committed to improving the delivery of skills for the engineering, construction, health and social care, creative, digital and media and land-based sectors.

Skills East Sussex Board

The Board comprises a number of leading figures from employment and education in East Sussex including the Chair Diana Garnham, (profile below), the Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council, Becky Shaw, two County Councillors, as well as senior managers from the county’s post 16 colleges, the University of Brighton and employers representing different sectors.

Chair of the Board – Diana Garnham

Diana was CEO of the Science Council until 2015 where she introduced professional registration for scientists at Chartered, Registered and Technician levels, as well as developing a science and maths careers campaign and a programme to tackle diversity in science employment.

She participates in activities to support widening participation in STEM, and increasing the work readiness for students from FE and HE. She is an independent member of the Construction Industry Training Board. She is President of the King’s College London Alumni Association and chair of the university’s Alumni Advisory Group. Until October 2019 she was a governor of East Sussex College Group having previously been on the corporation of Sussex Coast College. She is now an Enterprise Adviser at the Hastings campus of the East Sussex College Group. This is a very important role within the Careers Hub which itself is part of the Skills East Sussex structure.

In 2013 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Leicester for services to science and society and made a Freeman of the City of London for her work on science careers. In February 2017 Diana received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Brighton in recognition for her work on diversity in science.

2. Constitutional Documents

Board Meeting Minutes

Please see below for the minutes and documents of the previous six Skills East Sussex meetings.

Skills East Sussex 13th February 2020

Skills East Sussex 13.02.20 minutes

Key documents from the meeting

Presentation from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership on Digital Skills

Presentation from the Digital Skills Partnership

Presentation from the National Centre for Computing Education

Skills East Sussex 5 December 2019

Skills East Sussex 05.12.19 minutes

Key documents from the meeting. Skills East Sussex Board presentations

Skills East Sussex 19 September 2019

Skills East Sussex 19.09.19 minutes

Key documents from the meeting: Employment and Skills related projects

Skills East Sussex 6 December 2018

Skills East Sussex 06.12.18 minutes

Key documents from the meeting: CXK Skills East Sussex Presentation 06.12.2018, SELEP presentation for SES, and The NESTA UK Skills Taxonomy briefing.

The December meeting for Skills East Sussex included updates from the South East LEP on current and future funding calls; from CXK on the National Careers Service contract; from external consultant always possible on a proposal for a cross-sector task groups careers campaign; and from County Council employees on the Open Doors project, apprenticeship promotion, and the updated sector skills reports.

Skills East Sussex 27 September 2018

Skills East Sussex 27.09.18 minutes

Key documents from the meeting: Apprenticeships East Sussex Plan 2017–18, Apprenticeships East Sussex Plan 2018–19, KSS Careers Progression update, and the SES Action Plan targets update.

The September meeting for Skills East Sussex included updates from Health Education England on their careers and skills-related work; from Hastings Borough Council on the CHART project; and from County Council employees on the sector task groups, the Careers Hub East Sussex, Apprenticeships East Sussex, and the Skills East Sussex Action Plan targets.

Skills East Sussex 21 June 2018

Skills East Sussex 21.06.18 minutes

Key documents from the meeting: Bexhill College curriculum, East Sussex College Group curriculum, Plumpton College curriculum, SELEP Skills Strategy update, and the SES forward plan for 2018/19.

The June meeting for Skills East Sussex included updates from the South East LEP on the skills strategy, all three East Sussex Colleges on their curriculum offers for the next academic year, and representatives from the engineering, construction, and creative and digital task groups.

3. The Careers Hub

The East Sussex Careers Hub’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work by using the skills and experiences of a network of employers who pass on their knowledge to young people in a variety of ways. The Careers Hub staff co-ordinate employer engagement in 40 secondary schools, the colleges and special schools, and 23 primary schools across East Sussex.

East Sussex Careers Hub is one of 40 across the country and is co-funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company and East Sussex County Council. Careers Hubs are key to the Government’s aims to improve careers education, as set out in the December 2017 Careers Strategy. With the support of the Careers Hub, schools and colleges are working towards achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks which measure excellence in careers provision.

Hastings Opportunity Area sits within the East Sussex Careers Hub. In 2016 Hastings was ranked 282 out of 324 on the Social Mobility Index. The Department for Education has invested up to £6 million to set up The Hastings Opportunity Area. A three year programme tasked with identifying key areas for improvements, and then working with local businesses, schools, nurseries and colleges to give every young person the chance to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them. This is a case study of a recent Careers Day organised by the HOA Hastings Opportunity Area – Careers Day Case Study (opens new window) (Word, 413k)

The Primary Careers Hub

This is a one year pilot project from 2019–2020 to raise the aspirations of Primary School children and introduce them to the world of work. Pupils from 23 schools across East Sussex will receive careers learning through the curriculum, and get the opportunity to meet a range of employers. The project will develop a bank of resources, including videos and case studies that will form part of a national toolkit for careers education in Primary Schools.

How employers work with schools and colleges

1. The Enterprise Adviser Network

The Enterprise Advisers comprise senior local business people who volunteer with a single school or college in their local area. The EAs develop long-term careers and enterprise strategies that develop the skills that students need to succeed in their working life by working with head teachers and Careers Leaders for up to one day a month. They are supported by training and help from the Careers Hub team and network with other employers. For further details contact

Case Study - Enterprise Adviser Network – National Trust and Plumpton College Case Study (opens new window) (Word,

2. Industry Champions

Industry Champions are volunteers who come into a local school or college to tell young people about their careers journey, and opportunities in their sector. The participation can take many forms: speaking at a careers fair, mock interviews, talking at an assembly or in class, running an interactive workshop, mentoring students or providing CPD or workplace visits for teachers. By offering three or more of these activities a year your business will earn the East Sussex Industry Champion badge and a certificate to display in your workplace. Click here to register to ‘Give an Hour’. Please consult this document for guidelines on how to work safely and effectively in schools. Industry Champions sign up to this Code of Conduct.

To hear from current Industry Champions watch our video.

Case Study - Cornerstone Employers – Marshall Tufflex Case Study (opens new window) (Word, 3687k)

3. Open Doors

The Open Doors programme brings small groups of students to visit employers’ workplaces and see inside an organisation. Visits usually include a tour, giving students the chance to speak to staff in different roles and get a hands-on activity that demonstrates what the company does. Open Doors visits count towards the Industry Champion badge, as above. The Open Doors employer guidance provides further information. To find out more contact

Case Study - Open Doors – Heathfield Community College Case Study (opens new window) (Word, 2253k)

4. Work Experience

Offering work experience gives businesses the possibility to shape a future employee or apprentice. Typically, this involves hosting a year 10 student, aged 14 to 15, for one week, although other timings are also possible. It offers young people an invaluable opportunity to learn about the skills and behaviours required in the workplace and informs them about future careers options. Work experience is also an excellent way of developing your own staff as they mentor and train the young person. For more information from the work experience team, contact

4. Skills East Sussex Sector Task Groups

Sector Skills Task Groups, comprising local employers, members of the Skills East Sussex team, education and employability professionals, and elected Councilors, have been set up to address the skills and employment priorities in each of the following sectors; Construction, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Creative and Digital, Visitor Economy, and Land Based Industries. A Health and Social Care Task Group will start meeting in early 2020.

Each of the Task Groups has objectives related to;

  • Improving careers related learning and labour market information in schools
  • Influencing the further and higher education curriculum so that it meets the changing needs of business
  • Ensuring young people are ready for the world of work
  • Growing apprenticeships and higher level learning
  • Helping the planning and delivery of a Careers Campaign running from 2020 to 2022 promoting skill shortage roles and their career pathways to adults across East Sussex.

Links to Task Groups

We are very keen to receive new members – please contact Sam Rhodes on if you would like to find out more with a view to joining.

  • Please read the latest SES Sector Task Group Update, summer 2019 (opens new window) (Word, 43k) for more information on the work of the SES Sector Task Groups.
  • The strength of the Task Groups is that it enables all stakeholders, particularly employers, to collaborate on the planning of future skills and employment strategies for East Sussex, ensuring that local needs for each sector are being prioritised. The Task Groups are co-ordinated by the Skills East Sussex Team and meet 3–4 times annually.

5. Apprenticeships

By hiring an apprentice it gives a young person the opportunity to acquire skills and learn on the job. Government funding is available to cover 95% of the costs of training for all but the largest companies. For more information see the Government website.

Apprenticeships East Sussex is the county’s strategic body for apprenticeships, with the key aim of ensuring the growth of apprenticeships in East Sussex. The role of AES, as set out in its terms of reference, is to provide oversight and coordination of key stakeholders, strategies and communication plans; horizon scan and identify change, challenge and issues arising; and where appropriate, will lobby collectively on behalf of apprentices, employers and training providers to ensure ongoing sustainability and growth of apprenticeships in East Sussex.

The 2019/20 Plan is directly linked to the five Skills East Sussex priorities, and all activities are specifically aimed at achieving apprenticeship growth. Link to plan

Info-graphic – How Apprenticeships work for SMEs in East Sussex

Skills East Sussex, East Sussex County Council and SCTP have worked together to produce an info-graphic to help SMEs understand how apprenticeships work for them in East Sussex (opens new window) (Adobe PDF, 2307k).

Minutes of the last three AES meetings

  1. 13 February 2020 – Link
  2. 5 December 2019 – Link
  3. 26 September 2019 – Link

6. Open Doors

Open Doors is a workplace based project run by East Sussex County Council and supported by Skills East Sussex. School pupils across East Sussex, including Hastings, are given the unique chance to visit workplaces and hear from employers like you about the range of jobs that you offer, and the career paths into them.

This gives our pupils essential knowledge and experience to shape their own futures and provides employers with the opportunity to engage with young people who could form their future workforce. Businesses have offered apprenticeships, work experience placements, and built relationships with local schools.

We would like to invite you to participate in this innovative programme.

Last November, over 500 students visited 44 businesses, from Brighton to Dungeness, learning about a diverse range of East Sussex based jobs in web design, event management, engineering, construction, care, hospitality and many more.

Students’ feedback was very positive, with all participants saying that they had learnt about new roles, and that the experience would help inform their future learning and career decisions. Some employers even identified members of their future workforce from the visits with one company signing up two visiting students as future apprentices!

Visits are completely in your hands. They run during school hours, but you can pick which days, times, and how many students you and your team would like to host. The visit only has to take up an hour of your day, although some companies set aside a day or a week and host multiple visits.

Visits are due to start from November 4th to the 29th, and we would like to invite more businesses to open their doors to young people from across East Sussex.

If you are interested in opening your doors to young people in order to shape their futures, or would like to know more, please reply to or call Kimberley Bulgin on 01273 335625.

7. Developing Employment and Skills through Social Value

Social Value

Social value became a legal requirement through the Public Services Act in 2012 requiring suppliers to local authorities to devote a certain percentage of their resources from a gained contract to improving the social value of that local authority area. Such social value could be in improving the environment, supporting local community groups,or helping to develop the local economy by supporting employment and skills initiatives. Such commitments for employment and skills include the employment and training of local people, careers-related activities in schools and colleges, and the offer of work experience placements.

Supporting Suppliers (Employers) to support local employment and skills through Social Value

More employers who have obtained a contract from East Sussex County Council have joined the network of employers now doing careers work in schools or employing local people through their social value obligations. The Employment and Skills team are providing support to the employers by putting them in touch with schools who need employer support, or notifying them of careers events where they would be welcomed. This has led to more contracted employers joining the Task Groups in addition to the careers work in schools that they are undertaking. Employers can find out what support is needed in the county regarding employment and skills, and the type of assistance they can receive from this employment and skills social value document.

The East Sussex Market Place

The County Council has developed a portal called the East Sussex Social Value Market Place where employers can see opportunities to bid for contracts and be made aware of community needs to help inform them of what social value would be desired. The support from the Employment and Skills team within East Sussex support is featured on this work and skills page

Please contact Sam Rhodes from Skills East Sussex on for more information.

Examples of Social Value being delivered in East Sussex schools

The following case studies are all examples of employers who had social value commitments working in schools.

  • Ninfield Primary School, 2018–2019 Case Study
  • Hailsham Primary Academy, work completed November 2019 Case Study
  • Pevensey and Westham CE Primary School, November 2019 Case Study