Skills East Sussex Minutes 19 July 2023

Skills East Sussex Minutes 19 July 2023

Meeting details

Skills East Sussex Board Meeting

Wednesday 19th July 2023 14:00 – 16:00

The Studio, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill TN40 1DP

Attendees and apologies



Organisation, Role


Diana Garnham

Skills East Sussex Board, CHAIR


Cllr Bob Standley

ESCC, Lead Member for Education & Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


Claire Witz

Sussex Chamber of Commerce, Skills Project Director


Pauline Smith

CXK, Chief Executive


Dan Wahnon

Technoturn, Chair of Engineering Task Group


Ian Noble

Uckfield Chamber of Commerce, Director


James Harris

ESCC, Assistant Director for Economy


Rebecca Conroy

East Sussex College Group, Principal


Alex Green

DwP, Partnerships Manager


Lucy Jenks

Sussex Learning Network, Programme Manager


Vanessa Potter

Sussex Council of Training Providers, Executive Director


Ana Christie

Sussex Chamber of Commerce, Chief Executive


Andy Pritchard

Bexhill College, Vice Principle


Geraldine Turton

University of Brighton, Apprenticeships Manager



Matthew Williamson

IES Institute of Employment Studies


Debra Vice-Holt

Sussex Learning Network, Programme Manager




Becky Shaw

ESCC and WSCC, Chief Executive


Colleen Hart

System Head of Workforce & Organisational Development East Sussex, NHS Sussex


Dr David Oloke

University of Brighton, Head of Technical Education and Apprenticeships


Julian Perrot

BarkWeb Ltd Director, Co-Chair Creative, Cultural, Digital and Media Task Group


Julie Barker

Visitor Economy Task Group Chair


Penny Shimmim



Martin Ellis





Caroline Bragg

ESCC, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager, Economy and Education Divisions


Holly Aquilina

ESCC, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager, Economy and Education Divisions


Scott Bedford

Senior Business Administrator, Education Division

Actions arising from this meeting

Actions from this meeting, 19th April 2023  





1.    Share LSIP skills provider survey with minutes.


With minutes

2.    Links to Careers Search tool to be circulated to SES members when live.


Next SES meeting

3.    Research report to be circulated when finalised.


By September

4.    All task groups to have session at future meeting reviewing IES findings and making recommendations for sector specific actions.


By November

5.    Careers Hub to link Green Skills resources to SLN.


By September

6.    HA to liaise with DG and PS about drafting lobbying letters on lack of revenue funding for provision.


By September

7.    CW to liaise with FE Sussex to ensure that the LA, ITP and VCSE sectors are engaged in discussions.



8.    Share details of East Sussex Flexibus with partners supporting people in to learning and work in rural areas.


With minutes

1. Welcome, Introductions and Apologies

  • DG welcomed all to the meeting and introductions were made.


  • DG informed the group that Julian Perrot, Chair of the Creative and Digital Task Group has stepped down and thanked him for his work as part of SES. She also thanked Donnalyn Morris for her work as part of the Secretariat, who has moved to a new role at ESCC.


  • DG welcomed Dan Wahnon to the meeting who is the new Chair of the Engineering Task Group.


  • Actions from the last meeting were noted and apologies given. Minutes were approved.

2. SES Operations

  • HA and CB presented a summary of the work undertaken over the past quarter. See presentation for summary details. Full details are in the SES Update Paper.


  • The group welcomed the update report. RC noted that the Teacher Encounters session had been very positive. AC reported that the LSIP had held workshops with SELEP to further discussions about Tutor Recruitment in July, and that these had been well received.


  • CB noted that further Tutor Encounters sessions were being considered for 2023/24 with funding committed from the Careers and Enterprise Company.


  • DG acknowledged that there was positive news in the report about T level implementation and suggested that Bexhill College may like to update at a future meeting about this work.


  • Members agreed that the Skills Summit had been very positive and welcomed the suggestion that SES runs more focused sessions about the implications of automation, AI and green skills as a follow on to the Skills Summit.


  • AC asked to share LSIP skills provider survey analysis report on recruitment challenges, how providers are training and upskilling their staff and their staff training challenges.


Action 1: Share LSIP skills provider survey with minutes.


2.7 HA introduced the next item. The Careers East Sussex website was created initially as a database for post-16 learning in the county through which young people apply for college courses. Plumpton, ESCG, Bexhill colleges and a number of sixth forms are key partners in the website and list all of their post-16 learning on the site. The site has been expanded over the years to include careers information, in particular information relating to the Careers Hub, Apprenticeships, support for unemployed adults and sector specific information.


2.8 The Careers Campaign Group was a task and finish group of Skills East Sussex and decided that two new developments would be useful to host on the site – a series of interactive careers infographics and a job search tool, both focusing on key sectors in East Sussex.


2.9 VP explained that SCTP had been tasked with creating the careers search tool in partnership with First Media. VP demonstrated the new tool which will be live by the end of the summer. The tool starts at different points for different users (school leaver, returner to work, career changer) and maps their skills to potential jobs. It then signposts people to local training providers who can support learning in their recommended role and draws in current live vacancies in Sussex that they can apply to.


2.10 The group welcomed the tool, particularly the local relevance. RC and PSm asked if the searches are retained. VP said that they will invite people at the end of their search to register an account and store their search so that they can be sent updates about vacancies and courses. HA added that there will need to be a GDPR/Privacy statement added, but it would be useful to be able to use the data about skills levels, vocations that people are interested in, as this could be a very useful source of information to identify skills gaps and to inform training provision and offers locally.


2.11 AG asked if we will be able to measure the success of the tool somehow. VP responded that we will be able to monitor use of it, but not whether people have moved into a job as a result. However, in the GDPR statement of use we could ask for permission to contact users to see if the tool helped them consider new options and if they had taken up training or work as a result.


2.12 AG and PS asked how the tool is updated in terms of careers data. VP responded that the tool is linked into the national ONS database and uses its SIC codes etc so updates automatically.


2.13 HA presented an example of one of the infographics that has also been developed as part of the new development work on the site. Each key sector in East Sussex has an information page and on these sites there are 1-3 infographics about the key careers in the sector, in particular those where there are high volumes of opportunities. The infographics are interactive, provide information about pathways into careers and contain video footage from individuals working in the sector where they talk about technical elements of the role but also about working practice, work-life balance and why they enjoy the role. HA added that the ESCC Employment and Skills team is currently working with ESHT and the ICS to develop 12-15 new infographics to promote careers in health and social care with a view to these being live on the site by the end of the year.


2.14 DG welcomed the developments and suggested that links are sent to all partners to start using these resources in discussions about careers with learners and clients.


Action 2: Links to Careers Search tool to be circulated to SES members when live – VP.

3. Research into future skills needs of East Sussex

Matthew Williams of the Institute of Employment Studies presented headlines from the research that the IES is conducting on behalf of SES into the future needs of East Sussex in relation to Brexit, technological advancements (automation, AI etc) and transition to Net Zero.

3.2 MW reported that the IES had received 274 responses to the survey from East Sussex businesses and had consulted over 40 businesses via the East Sussex Task Groups. Alongside direct consultation they have undertaken desk-based research and data analysis. He presented a summary of findings thus far – presentation circulated with the minutes.


3.3 The group acknowledged that the presentation emphasised the need for providers in East Sussex to offer a range of skills provision that will enable businesses in the county to make use of AI and Automation and to support them in their move towards net zero.


3.4 Cllr St and AC discussed issues around housing regulations and how energy efficiency ratings are a driver for the need to have people working in the construction sector with appropriate retrofit etc skills.


3.5 HA questioned the employment projections data presented in the report and asked whether it was based on the status quo or took account of developments in AI and new technologies. MW confirmed that the data was based on the status quo, and therefore may not be an accurate reflection. HA and DG asked that the IES reviews this data to consider new tech developments and the impact that they may have on the ‘status quo’ recruitment trends.


3.6 JH noted that it was interesting that 51% of survey respondents felt that they were able to calculate their carbon footprint, but DG asked whether they really know how to do this, and HA pointed out that this meant that 49% of respondents aren’t able to do this, and therefore carbon literate leadership remains a need for our local employers.


3.7 DW noted that the suggestion that manufacturing will decline was interesting, as to reduce carbon emissions caused by importing goods from less carbon efficient countries it would be greener to manufacture more in the UK. He also suggested that Engineering companies have used AI and automation for the past decade to improve output and to keep nimble and new technologies have enabled Technoturn to be more productive and as a result they will need more staff as this has enabled growth.


3.8 DG agreed that the report is flagging areas where there is a need for skills development – digital skills, cybersecurity, forestry, carbon literate leadership etc and asked that when the report is issued, that each of the task groups reviews it and identifies areas of development, of skills needs.


3.9 PS and AG asked whether people are aware of green careers and the new opportunities that are emerging. CB responded that a Careers Hub priority is to promote green skills and lesson plans for schools. The group acknowledged that we need to be doing something similar for adults. HA, PS and AG to discuss.


Action 3: Research report to be circulated when finalised.


Action 4: All task groups to have session at future meeting reviewing IES findings and making recommendations for sector specific actions.

4. Sussex Learning Network Level 3 mapping

Debra Vice-Holt and Lucy Jenks demonstrated the Greener Careers website and presented its contents and the mapping activity that has been undertaken to identify ‘green skills’ and related provision across Sussex – presentation circulated with minutes.


4.2 The Board welcomed the work that has been undertaken. DG asked if the mapping had led to gaps being identified. DV-H said that local FE providers would be able to look at the mapping of provision to identify gaps and needs.


4.3 JH asked how the site can be linked to Careers East Sussex and vice versa to avoid duplication. CB noted that the Careers Hub are undertaking work on promoting Green Skills and developing lesson plans and will ensure that they dovetail with SLN resources.


Action 5: CB to work with Careers Hub on linking Green Skills resources to SLN.

5. LSIP update

CW updated the group that the LSIP had submitted its final proposal and was hoping to receive information from DfE imminently. Once approved the LSIP can start to undertake activities in its proposal including mapping work as a first phase. A report about the activities of the LSIP likely to be circulated in September/October.


5.2 In the interim period, the LSIP is working on its website and undertaking some research/exploratory activity with strategic partners including SLN.


5.3 LSIF funding has been announced with a very quick turnaround for initial proposals. On the back of these proposals, FE Sussex will be given £92k to undertake feasibility reports and then a second stage application will be submitted. The LSIF funding is challenging because it is largely capital funding. In year one there is £1mn revenue and £1.2mn capital, but in year two the full £2.4m is capital.


5.4 FE Sussex has put in an initial proposal about creating an App linked to digital badges and for equipping classrooms with VR learning resources which could help to address tutor shortage issues.


5.5 The Board agreed that the lack of revenue funding is problematic but welcomed the VR concept as potentially very promising. PS emphasised that the lack of revenue funding for skills is really starting to take effect especially as ESF projects are coming to conclusion and suggested that SES should be lobbying MPs about this.


Action 6: HA to liaise with DG and PS about drafting lobbying letters.


5.6 DG stated that CITB had developed a range of VR modules and could share these with RC in developing the LSIP application.


5.7 JH asked that LAs were involved and consulted in shaping the LSIF proposals and AC confirmed that FESussex will consult key partners as part of the development process. RC and JH to meet to discuss proposals.


5.8 HA acknowledged that many Independent training providers were commercial so couldn’t benefit from LSIF monies but asked whether VCSE organisations may be able to engage as some may have capital needs that could support their entry level or employability provision. May support pathways into adult learning for example. CW said that FE Sussex would liaise with VP and PS.


Action 7: CW to liaise with FE Sussex to ensure that the LA, ITP and VCSE sectors are engaged in discussions.

6. DWP Update

AG presented the latest claimant data. East Sussex data is showing positive reductions in unemployment across all districts. DG suggested that this is because we have a joined up local approach to addressing employment via a range of schemes and referrals.


6.3 ADJ (Additional Jobcentre Support) launched in February for people on UC for 3 and 6 months who were given 2 weeks of daily interaction and support.


6.4 DWP is focusing on targeting over 50s and is running job fairs in Eastbourne, Lewes, Newhaven and Hastings over the coming months. They are undertaking outreach activity in Hailsham now for one day a week and ran a rural job fair.


6.5 They are keen to do more partnership and outreach activity and more employer engagement.


6.6 Cllr St noted that more provision is needed in Heathfield, Crowborough. North of Wealden area. CB noted that some work had been undertaken with WDC to identify outreach locations in these areas in their submission for Youth Hubs, and that these could potentially be made available again by engaging with WDC.


6.7 DG thanked Alex for his report.

7 AOB & Date of Next Meeting

  • Flexibus is now available across the County and is valuable to moving people in rural parts of East Sussex to learning and work. Links will be shared with the minutes for partners to share with networks:

FlexiBus | East Sussex County Council


  • The Board agreed that they find SES meetings valuable as in person meetings.


Next meeting: 19th October 2023, 2.30-4.30 in person at County Hall, Lewes.