The Chief Operating Officer – Cardiff Capital Region City Deal submitted a report, which provided Members with an update on the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal’s skills initiatives, as requested in Appendix A to the report.
He advised that on 17 December 2018, Regional Cabinet agreed to allocate £175k from the Wider Investment Fund, to deliver a one-year pilot of the Cardiff Capital Region Graduate Scheme, in partnership with the 4 universities in the Cardiff Capital Region.
He explained that the Industrial and Economic Growth Plan was approved by regional Cabinet on the 18th of February 2019. In conjunction with additional stakeholder engagement and strategic advisory services provided by the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (Nesta), it set out means of optimising the impact of the other facets of the Skills for the Future programme, to achieve two mutually supportive objectives of boosting competitiveness and tackling inequalities to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth.
Core sets of recommendations from Nesta included:
· Seizing near-term opportunities to target ?specific areas of demand for skills.
· Investing in a more intelligent labour market in the longer-term.
Since launching in April 2019, the Cardiff Capital Region Graduate Scheme has engaged over 140 businesses, sifted over 300 applicants on behalf of employers and hosted numerous assessment centres. The scheme has also been supported by cohort events, he added.
Engagement is being undertaken with employers from the compound semi-conductor sector and its wider supply chain in addition to other priority sectors from the Industrial and Economic Growth Plan. The aim of this, was to explore potential for the creation of high-value jobs, training solutions that meet the needs of industry and pathways to identify how young people across the region can access any emerging opportunities.
The Chief Operating Officer continued, by stating that there was
a proposal for a Youth Regional Cabinet to be developed in partnership with youth forums and school engagement teams in the region, to allow young people to influence and shape City Deal investments. This was work in progress.
Training and work opportunities were also being explored, through the CCRCD Metro Plus scheme, which would assist in turn, to contributing towards well-being targets, digital and transport goals.
The City Deal was also supporting pupils from the region to attend a STEM event at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst on 27 September 2019, in order to inspire Years 7, 8 and 9 to consider the broad range of careers available in STEM employment.
The Chief Operating Officer concluded his submission, by advising that as outlined in the Resource and Restructure Report that Regional Cabinet approved on the 18th of February 2019, the City Deal office is developing capacity to convert such labour market information into labour market intelligence through PhD Data Scientists that will be sourced and match-funded from the KES studentship scheme. To this end, work was ongoing with Data Cymru to install data common and compatible to all Authorities that comprised the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.
A Member felt that 19 students having taken-up the Cardiff Capital Region Graduate Scheme, was too low in number and that more work was required to increase interest in this to engage more graduates
The Chief Operating Officer replied by confirming that 25 businesses had shown an interest in engaging in the Scheme and that a recruitment initiative would shortly commence, that would take projects forward through the employment of highly qualified young people by various businesses.
A Member noted from paragraph 12. of the report, that the City Deal partnership was looking to convert labour market information into labour market intelligence. He asked what the timescales were for the delivery of this.
The Chief Operating Officer advised that the timescales here were approximately 6 – 9 months from the present date.
A Member noted that the Scheme and companies who were going to become part of this were looking to employ graduates. He asked if any employment opportunities were open to newly qualified graduates or individuals who had obtained a University degree possibly some time ago.
The Chief Operating Officer advised that the Scheme was looking to attract individuals who had graduated in the recent past, ie within the last few years.
RECOMMENDATIONS: (1) Members noted the report and stated that in order for the Committee to effectively challenge they asked that they are provided with the relevant data within the report to allow them opportunity to provide effective scrutiny.
(2) Members recommended greater engagement with schools and parents on the STEM to ensure all are aware of the potential opportunities available to them.