Skills East Sussex (SES)

About Skills East Sussex

Skills East Sussex (SES) is the county’s strategic body for employment and skills. The group aims to improve local employment and skills levels to increase economic prosperity in East Sussex. Skills East Sussex uses a firm evidence base to agree and set priorities. The group provides direction for the county’s approach to employment and skills.

SES has agreed the following six strategic priorities for 2021-2030:

  • Priority 1: Ensuring that national policy and funding supports the delivery of learning and skills in East Sussex

  • Priority 2: Enabling our Further Education (FE)/Higher Education (HE) establishments to recruit excellent educators with specialist technical knowledge

  • Priority 3: Improving our digital skills and digital inclusion

  • Priority 4: Upskilling our workforce to increase regional productivity

  • Priority 5: Supporting the unemployed and unqualified

  • Priority 6: Skills for a Net Zero future

SES has identified six priority sectors within the county. Work on the priorities is taken forward through the sector task groups.  There are sector based Task Groups for the following:

  • Construction and Civil Engineering

  • Creative, Cultural, Digital and Media

  • Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing

  • Health and Social Care

  • Visitor and Cultural Economy

  • Land, Agriculture and Environmental

Read about the work of the Skills East Sussex sector task groups.

Skills East Sussex also has working groups looking at key areas across all employment and skills sectors. These are

  • Apprenticeships East Sussex

  • Adult Learning Network

  • Net Zero

More information on Apprenticeships including support for businesses can be found at Apprenticeships East Sussex

Board members

The Board includes several leading figures from employment and education in East Sussex. These include:

  • The Chair, Diana Garnham
  • Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council, Becky Shaw
  • Two County Councillors
  • Senior Managers from the county’s post-16 colleges
  • Senior Managers from the University of Brighton
  • Local employers representing different sectors in the county

Chair of Skills East Sussex – Diana Garnham

Diana was CEO of the Science Council until 2015. She introduced professional registration for scientists at Chartered, Registered and Technician levels. She also developed a science and maths careers campaign and a programme to improve diversity in science employment.

She supports activities to widen participation in STEM and to increase the work readiness for students from further education (FE) and higher education (HE). She is an independent member of the Construction Industry Training Board. She is President of the King’s College London Alumni Association. She is Chair of the university’s Alumni Advisory Group. Until October 2019 she was a governor of East Sussex College Group. She had 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 East Sussex Careers Hub.

The University of Leicester awarded Diana with an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to science and society in 2013. She is a Freeman of the City of London for her work on science careers. In February 2017, the University of Brighton awarded Diana with an honorary Doctorate of Science for her work on diversity in science.

Chair, Diana Garnham
Chair, Diana Garnham

SES constitutional documents

A) Statement of priorities

Skills East Sussex (SES) has used research conducted by East Sussex County Council into the skills needs within the East Sussex priority economic sectors. Discussions with a range of employers have  identified skills issues to address collectively.

SES focuses on addressing skills issues that affect the following economic sectors:

  • Engineering and advanced manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Health and social care
  • Creative, media and digital
  • Land-based
  • Visitor economy and tourism

SES identified and agreed the following 6 strategic priorities for 2021-2030.

  • Priority 1: Ensuring that national policy and funding supports the delivery of learning and skills in East Sussex
  • Priority 2: Enabling our FE/HE establishments to recruit excellent educators with specialist technical knowledge
  • Priority 3: Improving our digital skills and digital inclusion
  • Priority 4: Upskilling our workforce to increase regional productivity
  • Priority 5: Supporting the unemployed and unqualified
  • Priority 6: Skills for a Net Zero future

B) Skills East Sussex Terms of Reference 2019 to 2021 

C) SES Activity Plan 

SES Activity Plan 2017 to 2020 has concluded. This addressed: 

  • improving the quality and relevance of Careers Information Advice and Guidance for people of all ages
  • helping young people become ready for the world of work
  • addressing gender imbalance in employment and study in key industries and sectors
  • making sure that the curriculum is shaped by employers wherever there is scope for this to be done
  • helping to stimulate the uptake of apprenticeships and higher level learning.

D) SES Members and Register of Members’ Interests (to be confirmed)

This information is not yet available.

E) Board meeting minutes

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

Careers Hub

The East Sussex Careers Hub's mission is to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work. The Hub brings together 42 secondary schools, colleges and special schools, 24 primary schools, alongside employers and other partners. The Careers Hub supports schools to work towards achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks. These measure the excellence in careers provision. Find out more by reading about the national Careers Hub programme.

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 statutory guidance for schools and colleges on providing careers guidance.

Enterprise Adviser Network

Our Enterprise Advisers come from all industry sectors and professional backgrounds. Be that employed, self-employed or recently employed. They are business professionals who are willing to volunteer their time to achieve positive change.

The role involves supporting a local school or college, using core skills to create and achieve the school careers programme. Enterprise Advisers support young people by giving them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers.

East Sussex has over 40 Enterprise Advisers. They receive support from the Careers Hub as well as training and networking opportunities.

Visit Become an Enterprise Adviser for further details about the role. You can also contact the Careers Hub at 

Industry Champions

Industry Champions are volunteers from any industry sector and any level. They come into a local school or college to support young people as they prepare for the world of work. This role is ideal for people who enjoy meeting students and talking about their careers journey and industry. Popular activities include:

  • Virtual videos and interviews

  • Careers fairs

  • Apprenticeship roadshows

  • Mock interviews

Careers events can be in-person or online depending on the activities.

Becoming an Industry Champion benefits local employees and businesses in many ways:

  • Playing your part in supporting and shaping young people's careers and plans

  • Raising your own brand awareness and profile in the local community

  • Potential links to support your own talent pipelines and future workforce

  • Gaining and sharing ideas with young people in East Sussex

  • Careers Professional Development for you and/or your staff

  • Supporting the local business and education community

Visit Careers East Sussex for further details about the role. You can also contact the Careers Hub at

Cornerstone Employers

Cornerstone Employers are ambassadors for the East Sussex Careers Hub. They promote their role to businesses to increase the number of employers supporting careers in schools and colleges. Cornerstone Employers in East Sussex provide:

  • Enterprise Advisers and Industry Champions from their workforce

  • Project support through wider Careers Hub initiatives

  • Employer voice across the county in our work with schools and colleges.

Visit Careers East Sussex for further details about the role.

Primary Careers Hub

The Primary School Careers Hub was an East Sussex County Council one-year pilot project from 2019 to 2020. The project was funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company Primary Fund. The aim of the project was to bring about system change in careers-related learning in primary schools. This was done by raising the aspirations of students and introducing them to the world of work. 23 primary schools in East Sussex were involved in designing, testing and evaluating a range of approaches and resources. The project developed a bank of resources that now form part of a national toolkit for careers education in primary schools.

For more information and to access the resources, contact the Careers Hub at

To sign up for Primary Subject Hub meetings, contact the Careers Hub at

Further information linked to careers education for primary schools can be found on Careers East Sussex and Padlet.

Apprenticeships East Sussex (AES)

Apprenticeships are an effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

Apprenticeships East Sussex (AES) 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
  • where appropriate, lobby collectively on behalf of apprentices, employers and training providers to ensure ongoing sustainability and growth of apprenticeships in East Sussex.

If your business would like to find out more about apprenticeships, or support to access funding, please visit Transform Programme - Sussex Council of Training Providers.

Terms of reference

Apprenticeships East Sussex meetings

Please find below the minutes of the latest meetings.

Please note: we know some of these files might not be suitable for users of assistive technology. If you use assistive technology such as a screen reader, please email Skills East Sussex and we will do our best to help.

Graduate award ceremony 2019
Graduate award ceremony 2019

Open Doors

Open Doors is a project run by the Careers Hub. This programme provides students with intrinsic experiences of the workplace. Students interact with local employers through short workplace visits and learn about careers and employability skills. Feedback shows that students find visits inspiring and eye-opening.

Open Doors has helped students to decide their careers paths and work harder in school. It has even led to work experience placements with businesses who have hosted visits.

Watch this video for an overview of the Open Doors programme:

For more information about Open Doors, please contact the Careers Hub at 

Developing employment and skills through social value

Social value

Social value became a legal requirement through the Public Services Act in 2012. This requires suppliers to local authorities to offer wider benefits linked to their contract, called social value. Broadly these benefits can include supporting the local economy, the local environment and offering help to local community groups.

As regards the 'local economy' such social value can mean offering employment and training to local people, doing careers talks in local schools and supporting local businesses.

Supporting suppliers (employers) to support local employment and skills through social value

Suppliers who wish to offer support to the local economy as part of their social value, can contact Skills East Sussex for support and information.

The East Sussex Market Place

The County Council has developed a portal called the East Sussex Social Value Market Place. This enables local organisations such as charities and community groups to post up requests for help from suppliers. Such help can mean spare building materials or suggestions for voluntary work. Likewise suppliers or employers can post up items or time they can donate which can be picked up local groups.

Examples of social value being delivered in East Sussex schools

The following case study is an example of employers who had social value commitments working in schools.

Employers Doing Social Value Work In School
Employers doing social value work in school