Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed the Government's commitment to local skills development.

The Department for Education is to help match skills to jobs, it has announced, with the LEP’s People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group aligned to deliver the role set out for Skills Advisory Panels.

The new group – formed from local partnerships between public and private sector organisations – will include employers, schools, colleges, universities and training providers.

It will use this support to assess what skills are needed in the local area, alongside the existing sector skills plans already developed via the local enterprise partnership.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds’ announcement on the package of support was discussed at the local enterprise partnership chairs’ meeting with him in October.

As part of this support, the Department for Education has launched a toolkit to help the new skills panels carry out high quality local skills analysis, as well as a small amount of funding for each panel to grow its capability.

Cumbria LEP head of skills Craig Ivison said: “The panel for Cumbria will help strengthen our ability to pool knowledge on skills and labour market needs.

"It will provide additional support for Cumbria LEP to carry out its role in bringing together employers and the education and skills sector to develop the skills of the future and current workforce based on a consistent, accurate body of evidence.

“The Department for Education announcement indicates that up to £75,000 could be made available for each LEP area.

"It also sets out some of the ways in which the fund can be used.

"We are serious about skills development for the county, and this funding will be helpful to support our overall work programme in this area, as well as Cumbria’s Local Industrial Strategy.

“The new panel will also enable us to work even more closely with businesses and education providers to address local skills gaps and employment priorities.

"The potential for the panel to influence this agenda at a local level will be the foundation of its success."