Skills East Sussex sector task groups

About the sector task groups

Membership of the skills sector task groups

Members of the skills sector task groups include:

  • local employers
  • members of the Skills East Sussex team
  • education and employability professionals
  • county and local district and borough councillors.

We are very keen to receive new members. Please email Skills East Sussex to find out more about what we do and to join. 

Priority sectors and objectives

The task groups address the skills and employment priorities in each of the following sectors: 

The task groups allow everyone to collaborate on the planning of future skills and employment strategies for East Sussex. This ensures that local needs for each sector are being prioritised.

Each group has objectives related to:

  • improving careers related learning and labour market information in schools
  • influencing the further and higher education curriculum to meet the changing needs of business
  • ensuring young people are ready for the world of work
  • growing apprenticeships and higher-level learning
  • supporting their sector's professional development of skills for teachers and lecturers

The task groups are coordinated by the Skills East Sussex Secretariat. Most of the groups meet 4 times a year. 


Construction & The Built Environment Task Group

Construction is a significant industry in East Sussex. With many small businesses and sole traders, jobs are 46% above the national average for the working population.

The Construction Task Group meets to support the strategic priorities of Skills East Sussex concerning the industry.  Civil Engineering is also represented in this group.

The group includes  local employers such as:

  • GM Monk Ltd
  • Cheesmur Building Contractors Ltd
  • Hailsham Roadways Construction Co. Ltd
  • Hawes Building Contractors
  • East Sussex Highways.

Other members include national construction employers, especially when they have building contracts in East Sussex.  Organisations whose work include major building also sit on the group. These include:

  • Volker Fitzpatrick
  • Morgan Sindall
  • Optivo.

Education and training representatives include:

  • East Sussex College Group
  • Construction Industry Training Board
  • University of Brighton
  • employment and skills departments of the local authorities.

The task group is chaired by Scott Monk of GM Monk Ltd.

Careers Hub Case Study Scott Monk
Chair Scott Monk

Chair Scott Monk, Director of GM Monk Ltd

Chairing the Construction task group allows Scott to use his knowledge and expertise from the education, construction and careers sector. He directs the group towards some of the key objectives that East Sussex County Council have set in relation to employment, education and the construction industry. He chairs a very positive and engaged group of people which allows the Task Group to tackle some of the limiting factors in construction.

Task group achievements to date

  • Endorsement of a University of Brighton bid. The bid secured £100K for development of degree level construction apprenticeships.
  • Endorsement of an East Sussex College bid to the Construction Industry Training Board. The bid was for a mobile Construction Hub to enable more flexible training and delivery.
  • Input into the curriculum, including the new T-Levels at East Sussex College Group (ESCG).
  • Key work with Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP) to support engagement between business and education. This informed co-design of the curriculum and recruitment of tutors from industry
  • Representing the construction sector at the first East Sussex Apprenticeship Graduation ceremony in 2019.
  • Supporting the Primary and Secondary Careers Hubs through the Enterprise Adviser Network, Industry Champions and Open Doors workplace visit programme. Read more about the Careers Hub

Task group update Spring 2022

Areas of focus from 2020-21 were

  • Continued promotion of the sector to young people through the Careers Hub.
  • Ensuring the relevance of further and higher education curriculum for Construction.
  • Helping employers overcome barriers to recruiting employees or apprentices.
  • Supporting employment and skills through Social Value in Construction contracts procured by Local Authorities

An example is the Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) ‘Building Lives’ run by Willmott Dixon. It ran from 16 November to 11 December 2020 and took a cohort of 10 due to social distancing restrictions.

Forty-eight referrals came through Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Nine out of ten completed the SWAP.  Participants gained a Level 1 Carpentry qualification, Level 1 Health and Safety qualification, employability skills training and a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. At the end of the 4-week course, all participants had an interview with Willmott Dixon and Falcon Green. Three individuals started jobs, and 4 others were still in touch with the recruitment agency. 

The task group will build upon these foundations, and that work continues. 

Priority tasks for 2022-23 are

  • Establishing a risk register of Green Skills availability in support of moves to Net Zero
  • Supporting a campaign to support the tutor bursary to help get more people with recent industry experience into the classroom
  • Supporting the creation of an employer designed event focussed on continuing professional development (CPD)

Construction Task Group meetings

Please find below the minutes of the latest task group 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.


Creative, Media and Digital Task Group

This task group straddles two important sectors: creativity and cultural and digital marketing. Both of these use a range of media including print, audio, video and online. 

These sectors  have experienced skill shortages in recent years.  This has led to a high number of job vacancies which are difficult to fill.  East Sussex' has a higher than average share of employers in this area. 

The Task Group includes employers from the two sectors including:

  • Bark Web Ltd
  • De La Warr Pavilion
  • Factory Internet
  • Tech Resort

There are also representatives from education and training including:

  • East Sussex College Group
  • Artswork
  • Culture Shift
  • University of Brighton

The Group is jointly chaired by Julian Perrott of Bark Web Ltd and Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager of East Sussex County Council.

Sally Staples Headshot
Sally Staples

Co-Chair Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager East Sussex County Council

Sally Staples MA joined East Sussex County Council in 2012 as Cultural Strategy Manager. She was previously Head of the Kent County Council Arts Development Unit where she also managed the Kent Film Office.

Sally specialises in creating the strategic environment which allows the cultural sector to flourish. Sally’s involvement in the cultural sector has ranged from practitioner, facilitator, commissioner and writer to venue manager and performer. Her recent projects include:

  • South East Creatives (business support programme)
  • England’s Creative Coast (cultural tourism) and workspace development.

Recent activity and achievements

Members of the task group worked on a £200,000 bid to create a ‘Talent Accelerator’. The pilot had been in development locally and with colleagues in Kent and Essex. The ‘Talent Accelerator’ creates an elevator of 'age and of stage' that focuses on creativity in context, for example ‘how to be creative as a farmer/engineer’. It will work with children from early years through to further education (FE) and also higher education(HE).

The proposal was endorsed by Culture East Sussex and the De La Warr Pavilion are the lead partner. 

The Culture Shift project using Ingenious Fund supported Bexhill College students with assistance from Factory Internet. Culture Shift appointed a digital marketing apprentice.

East Sussex Library Service and the County Council's Employment and Skills Team successfully carried out an European Social Fund (ESF) tablet loaning scheme. It helped 40 ESF participants from Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and Wealden during the pandemic lockdowns. TechResort highlighted need for more donations of hardware to repurpose and loan out.

Two members of the task group are working with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Digital Skills Partnership. The partnership comprises stakeholders from across the South East. It aims to increase awareness and access to digital skills training across the region.

Members of the task group supported the Open Doors venture ‘Into Games’, which was new in 2019-20. Ninety students from 9 schools took part in an engaging workshop focusing on the production of a game at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill. The workshop was based on groups of young people running their own ‘studio’. Students took on different roles – designer, marketing, programming, studio assistants – and came up with an idea for a game.

INTOGames launched the new Games for Schools project. It provides £1.5 million worth of free Game Maker 2 software and resources for secondary schools to set up games clubs.

Task group update Spring 2022

Areas of focus to 2021 were

  • Putting the “A” into STEAM Fest
  • Designing and building the Talent Accelerator
  • Exploring Modular Apprenticeships/ATA model

Although there were some concerns about multi-employer apprenticeships (leaking confidential corporate details for example), it was noted that modular or multi-employer apprenticeships have been advocated by this task group since its inception.

Suggested that the ESF Transform project and apprenticeship levy transfer could be used to support a rotational pilot apprenticeship. This could be trialled through the task group. Suggested that the County Council act as lead or host employer for 'flexi' apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-old age group which can then offer multiple placements and retain a centralised standard and rate of pay.

For  2020 to 2021, the Task Group agreed to promote the following roles:

  • Programmers and software developers
  • Marketing professionals and copywriters
  • Cyber security officer

This work is on-going. 

The County Council's Cultural Strategy Manager, Sally Staples, highlighted the support for this sector vital to the East Sussex economy.

Priority tasks for 2022-23 are

  • The launch of the Talent Accelerator Programme
  • Increasing the recruitment of Higher Education graduates into the local sector
  • Supporting the creation of an employer designed event focussed on continuing professional development (CPD)

Creative and Digital Task Group meetings

Please find below the minutes of the latest meetings.


Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Task Group

The Engineering Task Group includes representatives from local employers. These include:

  • Akro Valve Ltd
  • Kurt J Lesker
  • Photek
  • General Dynamics
  • Brightwell Dispensers Ltd.

The task group includes representatives from education and training. These include:

  • East Sussex College Group (ESCG)
  • Culture Shift CIC
  • University of Brighton.

The role of chair is currently vacant. The group is looking for a new chair.

Task group recent activity

Task group members engaged on the following activities to improve awareness of engineering:

  • STEM Sussex applied to the Royal Academy of Engineers Ingenious Awards Programme on behalf of the Engineering Task Group. The proposal was to engage the public with engineers and engineering. It also provided engineers with the skills and opportunities to take part in public engagement.
  • Culture Shift  led a project called ‘Your Town’. The project was funded through the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Fund. This allowed young people aged 11 to 18 in Hastings, Eastbourne and Newhaven to meet with engineers and find out more about what they do.
  • The group noted that it was good to see the recognition of need for higher technical skills programmes at levels 4, 5 and 6. 

Task group update Spring 2022

Engineering employers across East Sussex are keen to help raise the level of interest and awareness of engineering among young people and adults through the task group. For 2020 to 2021, the Task Group agreed that the following roles will take priority:

  • Mechanical engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Processing technician
  • Vehicle engineer.

This work is on-going and will include aspects of the roles that support a Net Zero future. 

Many businesses in the sector are still strong. Brexit has impacted the supply chain for vehicles and manufacturing. Covid has added to supply chain delays. 

Many car workshops stayed open during the pandemic, but new car registrations during 2020 were down by 29.4%. This represents £20.4 billion in lost sales.  Electric vehicles due to take over from combustion engines by 2030.

Under the National Skills Fund, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee will provide funding for all adults to undertake study to improve their skills and achieve a Level 3 qualification if they do not already have one. Manufacturing courses are currently focused on textile design and fashion rather than engineering manufacturing. 

Areas of success to 2021-22 are

  • Careers provision, helping young people get ready for work
  • Promotional events – STEAM fest
  • Awarded funding for a project to challenge gender stereotyping in engineering

Priorities for 2022-23 for the Task Group are

  • Increasing training opportunities at operative level for upskilling, career changers 
  • Acting as a platform for keynote speakers to address the employer network around AI (Artificial Intelligence), Net Zero and Automation
  • Increasing the recruitment of Higher Education graduates into the sector locally

Engineering Task Group meetings

Please find below the minutes of the latest task group 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.


Health and Social Care Task Group

The Health and Social Care Task Group had its first meeting in January 2020 with the following membership:

  • Skills for Care
  • East Sussex College Group
  • University of Brighton
  • Independent training providers
  • NHS
  • Independent care providers
  • Health Education England
  • Adult Social Care, East Sussex County Council
  • Representatives of the clinical commissioning groups (CCG) – Sussex Transformation Partnerships.

Priorities for 2020 to 2021

The remit of the overall task group is to join up the work being undertaken by the CCGs and other Health and Social Care groups to promote careers in the sector.

The task group will also work out how best to move forward the Careers East Sussex Careers Campaign 2020 to 2021. The task group have agreed to promote the following roles:

  • Staff nurse
  • Family support and care worker
  • Technicians: sonographers, radiographers, occupational therapist
  • Social worker.

Task group update Spring 2021

  • Has been hard to work strategically when current circumstances are so demanding. Noted that some back-office staff are now expected to do direct care activity. On average during the peak of the pandemic, 40% of staff are off work due to illness or self-isolation. Resilience work is needed as many members of staff are considering leaving the care sector.
  • A gradual return to face-to-face training and new delivery methods for training has begun. Staffing challenges also mean that it can be difficult to find time to release staff for training. Digital skills and extended clinical skills training is still required across the NHS.
  • NHS Sussex Commissioners are looking to do more with apprenticeships. They have eight apprenticeships studying to Level 3 with East Sussex College Group. University of Brighton Level 5 Nursing Associate apprenticeship is continuing. 44 starting individuals are starting.
  • The East Sussex NHS Training Hub is also developing apprenticeships.
  • The Strategic Workforce group wanted to advertise East Sussex as a destination for individuals to work in health and care roles.
  • The Health and Social Care Task Group will be able to assist in advising the direction and scope of the Safe and Timely Onboarding Group.

Health and Social Care Task Group meetings

The Health and Social Care Task Group meets every month. Please find below the minutes of the three 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.


Land-Based Industries Task Group

The Land-Based Industries Task Group will adopt a core and subgroup approach to enable employers to focus on their subsectors:

  1. horticulture, growing, gardening, forestry
  2. food and wine production
  3. animals, livestock.

Priorities 2019 to 2021

The Engineering Task Group will address the engineering elements of land-based sector.

The Visitor Economy Task Group will address the hospitality element of the land-based industries.

Upon relaunch, the areas that the group will focus on will include:

  • Future skills – automation, digital skills and clean growth within the sector
  • Careers East Sussex – the careers campaign for East Sussex that is running over the next two years
  • Curriculum development
  • Careers advice in schools
  • Apprenticeship provision
  • Adult upskilling and retraining.

For the Careers Campaign 2020 to 2021 the group will promote the following roles:

  • Gardener, horticulturalist
  • Veterinary nurse.

Task group update Spring 2021

  • There has been a delay in the restructuring of the Land-Based group due to the pandemic. Work from recent curriculum advisory panels at Plumpton College will help in the restructuring.
  • The Task Group is still likely to adopt a subgroup approach managed by Plumpton College. This will allow employers to focus on their subsectors:
    1. horticulture, growing, gardening, forestry
    2. food and wine production
    3. animals, livestock.
  • The Engineering Task Group will address the engineering elements of land-based sector. The Visitor Economy Task Group will address the hospitality element of the land-based industries.

Visitor & Cultural Economy Task Group

The Visitor & Cultural Economy Task Group comprises employers and education professionals from organisations such as:

  • De La Warr Pavilion
  • University of Brighton
  • The View Hotel
  • East Sussex College Group
  • The Beacon

There are huge challenges in East Sussex related to recruitment and skills in this sector. Before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown the task group was addressing the severe lack of chefs and hospitality managers in the county. It was also looking at the wider skills shortage in the sector.

Post lockdowns, external challenges include rising costs for businesses and customers.  The group are exploring innovative ways of recruitment and getting the right skills at the right time. 

Julie Barker
Julie Barker

Chair of Visitor & Cultural Economy Task Group, Julie Barker, MIoD, FIH, PGcert

Julie has a breadth of experience at Board and Chair level from her 30-year award-winning career within the hospitality industry. Julie is a specialist in stakeholder engagement. She has direct experience of leading large multi-disciplinary teams and interfacing with complex client bodies, national and regional organisations and institutions. Julie is a qualified chef and a ‘total foodie’. She is a tenacious and passionate advocate of the industry and aims to encourage new talent to choose the hospitality industry as a ‘career of choice’. Julie is an independent consultant specialising in public and third sector service delivery, working on a consultancy, non-executive director (NED) and interim leadership basis.

Task group activities

In 2019-2021 the task group undertook the following activity:

  • Certain task group members helped to establish the View Hotel in Eastbourne as a 'Hotel of Excellence'. The View will provide long-term placements for students at the University of Brighton. They will also provide five 50-day placements for East Sussex College group students as part of their new T-level provision.
  • In November 2019, students and staff from the University of Brighton ran an Open Doors (workplace visit) session at the View Hotel. The secondary school pupils completed work-related tasks. Some pupils enjoyed it so much that they want to find out more about careers in the sector.
  • In March 2020 some members of the task group met online with their counterparts from Kent. Colleagues shared good practice and planned a joint conference to encourage more employers to join the Task Group. These collaborative and strategic forums that will help the sector address the many challenges it is facing.

For the East Sussex Careers Campaign the task group agreed to promote the following roles:

  • Chef
  • Hotel and restaurant managers.

Task group update Spring 2021

  • The recent meeting on 20 January 2021 was held during the sector's lowest ebb. All hospitality venues, apart from those doing take away food, have closed due to the lockdown. Despite this, a good number of members, including employers attended the meeting.
  • The discussion reflected the low mood with several industries within hospitality. These include events, weddings, and hotels. They are reporting a lack of adequate support for their businesses.
  • Several members expressed concern about the possible skills shortage when the premises can open this summer. This could be made worse by the effect of Brexit. The sector has provided a lot of work to European Union (EU) nationals who may not be allowed to come to the UK because of the new rules. Thousands of language students who bring several million pounds to the local economy also won't be coming this year.
  • There is concern that more hospitality courses in university are being withdrawn because of the negative effects of lockdown upon the sector.
  • Sally Staples, the Cultural Strategy Manager for East Sussex, reported that the sector is hoping to see a steeper recovery than the economic crisis in 2008. The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has some funding available: The Sector Support Fund (SSF) is grant led and supports one-off discrete pan-Sussex pieces of work. Sussex Modern has been part of a consortium of funding to Visit Essex, Visit Kent and Sussex Modern for marketing and promotion of the area. Sussex Modern aims to target the niche brand of long-staying, high spending tourists through promotion of local viticulture and culture venues. Visit Kent are bringing in an external company to manage customer sentiment tracking for the sector.
  • The Task Group has welcomed new members, including those from the Institute of Hospitality.

Visitor Economy Task Group 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.