Improving skills

Driving economic growth through our workforce

Why is improving skills important?

Improving skills in the North East workforce is fundamental to our economic future, underpinning our aim of driving an uplift of 100,000 jobs by 2024, and ensuring that the majority are ‘better’ jobs. The changing structure of the economy requires an effective response from early years to higher education.

What are the challenges?

The challenges of improving skills in the North East include:

  • Strengthening the response to current demand for skills in key areas of the labour market, including engineering, computing, transport and health
  • Supporting our residents to access opportunities in the changing economy and securing skills we need from outside the region

Our vision for 2024

As identified in the plan, there are certain targets we must reach to deliver skills development in the North East. These include:

  • Education establishments must provide a mix of world class academic, technical and professional education, apprenticeships and higher level apprenticeships in all of the growing areas of our economy, ensuring that those entering the labour market have the right skills to thrive
  • Develop a skills supply that underpins business growth and talent and retain this supply in the region
  • Enable every young person to identify routes into work, supported through experience and exposure to the world of work. We want them to understand that life and work experiences, alongside career and formal qualifications, are incredibly valuable
  • A reduction in inactivity levels in our 50+ workforce, as skills investment enables older workers to remain in work

How are we delivering the plan?

We are working on a range of activities to improve skills across the North East. These include:


What schools and colleges are participating in the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot?
  • Shotton Hall Academy, Peterlee
  • Excelsior Academy, Newcastle
  • Park View Academy, Chester le Street
  • Harton Technology College, South Shields
  • Greenfield Community College, Newton Aycliffe
  • Kenton School, Newcastle
  • Berwick Academy, Berwick
  • Castle View Academy, Sunderland
  • The Link School, Sunderland
  • Sunderland College, Sunderland
  • St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Hebburn
  • King Edward VI School, Morpeth
  • Bishop Auckland College, Bishop Auckland
  • East Durham College, Peterlee
  • Northumberland Church of England Academy, Ashington
  • Churchill Community College, Wallsend
What are the eight Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance?

Through six international visits, analysis of good practice in English schools and a comprehensive review of current literature, a set of eight benchmarks covering different dimensions of good career guidance was identified.

  1.  A stable careers programme
  2. Learning from career and labour market information
  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
  5. Encounters with employers and employees
  6. Experiences of workplaces
  7. Encounters with further and higher education
  8. Personal guidance

Find out more on the Gatsby Foundation’s website.

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