Skills East Sussex (SES)

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

Statement of priorities

Skills East Sussex (SES) has used research conducted by East Sussex County Council into the employment and skills needs within the East Sussex economy and has 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

SES brings together employers, education providers and stakeholders to tackle employment and skills challenges and work collectively to address solutions and meet the priorities set out through sector-based task groups in:

  • Engineering and advanced manufacturing
  • Construction including civil engineering
  • Health and adult social care
  • Creative, cultural, media and digital
  • Land-based covering agricultural, environmental
  • Visitor and cultural economy including tourism

Skills East Sussex Terms of Reference

Board meeting minutes

Skills East Sussex meets quarterly and minutes are approved by members at the following meeting. For example, if a meeting is held in July with the next meeting in October, the minutes for July will not appear online until after the October meeting has taken place.

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

The Secretariat aim to have the last three sets of available minutes online.

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 in East Sussex to support young people as they prepare for the world of work. The role is ideal for people who enjoy meeting pupils and talking about their industry and career journey.

Industry Champions support a variety of careers events and activities within schools and colleges. Careers events are typically in-person, but can also be virtual depending on the activity. Popular activities include:

  • Career fairs
  • Mock interviews
  • Assembly or classroom talks
  • Employer and pupil networking events
  • Enterprise days
  • ‘What’s My Line?’ activities
  • Workplace tours and visits
  • Work experience placements

Becoming an Industry Champion benefits local employers 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
  • Establishing potential links to support your own talent pipelines and future workforce
  • Gaining and sharing ideas with young people in East Sussex
  • Showing your commitment to social value in your local community
  • Careers Professional Development for you and/or your staff
  • Supporting the local business and education community

You can find out more about the Industry Champion role at Careers East Sussex.

If you would be interested in becoming an Industry Champion or have any questions, please 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.

Open Doors

Open Doors is a project run by the East Sussex Careers Hub each academic year, between October and July. The project provides young people in East Sussex with meaningful experiences of the workplace.

Local employers open up their workplaces to small groups of pupils, giving them the opportunity to explore various industry sectors in East Sussex and learn about the roles, employability skills and career pathways within the organisation.

Open Doors has helped pupils to decide their career paths and inspired them to work harder in school. It has even led to work experience placements with businesses who have hosted visits. Feedback shows that pupils find visits eye-opening and inspiring.

Employers can find out more about how the Open Doors project works using this digital guide. If your organisation would be interested in offering an Open Doors visit or has any questions, please contact the Careers Hub at

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 the Transform Skills Toolkit or contact 

For details of current apprenticeship vacancies, search apprenticeship vacancies when visiting Opportunities pages at Careers East Sussex. 

Terms of reference

Apprenticeships East Sussex meetings

Please find below the minutes of the latest meetings.

If you wish to see minutes of a meeting, please email Skills East Sussex and we will do our best to help.

Apprenticeships Graduation Ceremony 2022

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