Northern Devon Employment & Skills Board Terms of Reference

1 Vision 

“Northern Devon will have an aspirational workforce with world class skills, helping to grow the competitiveness and productivity of Northern Devon’s businesses” 

and may be expanded as defined below: 

Northern Devon is a region which encourages inward investment because of its: 

  • Highly skilled population; 
  • highly productive workforce; 
  • support for enterprise and innovation; 
  • positive celebration of success; 
  • positive attitude to diversity and equality of opportunity; 
  • ‘can do’ and ‘make it happen’ approach to challenges and problem solving. 

Northern Devon is a region where educational and skill achievement is: 

  • Highly prized and celebrated; 
  • career focused and not just exam focused; 
  • appropriately diversified to meet all needs and challenges; 
  • under-pinned by strong careers advice and guidance; 
  • supported by a partnership of business and education. 

The Northern Devon workforce: 

  • Is highly motivated and aspiring; 
  • demonstrates high standards of performance; 
  • is appropriately diverse and reflects equality of opportunity; 
  • seeks continuous skills development. 

Businesses in Northern Devon: 

  • instrumental in designing appropriate courses alongside education establishments; 
  • encourage their workforce to up-skill; 
  • seek diversity and equal opportunities in their recruitment and HR practice; 
  • have high aspirations of their leaders; 
  • thinks ahead and are ready for the future; 
  • work in partnership with educational providers to deliver effective pathways to employment for school leavers. 

Educational and skill professionals: 

  • Have high aspirations for all their students. 
  • recognise the importance of skills development and diversity in education, understand what is required for the area; 
  • celebrate achievement and diversity across all platforms of achievement not just exam led; 
  • work in partnership with business to ensure education meets employer needs now and in the future. 
  • work with partners and other agencies to raise aspirations for all young people. 

Ref: NDESB,TOR v1 12.6.19 

2 Purpose 

Raising Aspirations/Ambition Raising Skills/Productivity Retaining Talent 

The Northern Devon Employment and Skills Board is an employer led organisation with a strategic vision to promote and influence Northern Devon’s workforce development with measurable outcomes. 

To ensure the needs of employers and potential investors in Northern Devon are understood and communicated with regards to employment and skills issues, thus having a positive impact on the economic wellbeing of the area by identifying and implementing appropriate actions through partners to improve provision and support. 

Developing a highly skilled workforce for the future needs of Northern Devon. 

  • Because across North Devon and Torridge skills and qualifications levels, which provide a reasonable indicator of the quality of the local labour supply, are significantly poorer than both the Devon and national average. 
  • There is a tendency for those who do achieve higher level skills to leave and not return. 
  • Many larger local businesses or businesses/industries with specialist skills needs have to import their more highly skilled staff. 
  • Low productivity; the negative impacts this has on the local economy from both organisations in Northern Devon that have a strong presence and capacity to move higher up the value chain, and opportunities for others beginning to emerge. 
  • The lack of a skilled workforce available to faster growing indigenous employers is a barrier to speed of growth. 
  • The lack of skills readily available to inward investing companies is a potential barrier to investment and means Northern Devon is less competitive than the likes of Exeter, Plymouth, Newton Abbott and the M5 corridor. 

The availability of a skilled workforce is an essential component of delivering future economic growth and increased productivity; however, the availability of higher value jobs to attract and retain people with higher skills is an issue in Northern Devon. 

Knowing what skills and training solutions are sought by businesses in Northern Devon; communicating what is currently available and any challenges in meeting employer needs now and in the future; encouraging capital investment. 

Influencing and improving access to high-quality training that meets the needs of employers and learners, through the sharing and championing of good practice and openly challenging poor performance and lack of provision where skills gaps are identified. 

Collaborating to make best use of resources; avoid duplication and address gaps in skills and training provision, with an emphasis on opportunities for progression to higher level qualifications to ensure we consistently develop and retain talent in our area long term. 

3 NDESB Key Priorities 

To achieve its vision, the NDESB will strive to increase the levels of education and skills within the workforce to foster growth and enable residents to access employment opportunities. Within the NDESB overall strategy to promote and develop a higher skills provision in Northern Devon, retain talent in the area and increase the number of skilled workers, enabling opportunities for investment and growth, four strategic priorities have been identified. 

Strategic Priority 1: Ensure that our future workforce is highly skilled and properly prepared and motivated for their future roles both in the workforce and as responsible citizens. 

Strategic Priority 2: Ensure that our current workforce is aspirational and, through the ongoing development of their skills, able to make a full contribution to the workforce during their working careers. 

Strategic Priority 3: Work with our business community to realise local workforce potential. Challenge Education. 

Strategic Priority 4. Increase productivity in Northern Devon to ensure positive impacts on existing business growth and potential inward investment. 

Ref: NDESB,TOR v1 12.6.19 

4 Accountability and Resources 

4.1 Accountable Body: 

Petroc, Old Sticklepath Hill, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 2BQ 

4.2 Secretariat Resource The role of the Secretariat is : – 

  • To build strong, long term relationships with ALL Schools and colleges through honesty and transparency gaining their trust and engagement with the employers in the Northern Devon region. Attend Head Teacher/Deputy Head Teachers meetings and the like. Actively engage and go into schools to deliver insightful talks/knowledge sharing and activity events. 
  • Build strong relationships with employers in the area and facilitate/enable engagement with education. 
  • Facilitating and enabling a joined-up approach to prepare our workforce for the future of Northern Devon’s prosperity, one which is fit for purpose, in line with employer and inward investor needs; through relationship, connection, engagement by the provision of a collaborative approach between education, training, industry, business, business forums etc. 
  • Build relationships with organisations that are working to improve skills and employability, i.e. Job Centre Plus, LEP, Careers South West, STEM, NDMA, Pluss, Young Enterprise Scheme, CSW Advisor Scheme, Careers South West Hub etc. 
  • Implement and consistently maintain a calendar of events of all organisations working within the skills arena of planned and projected events to avoid duplication utilising a web-based open resource. 
  • Consistently communicating between organisations to ensure Northern Devon’s organisations are working to a common goal of ‘raising aspiration/ambition, raising skills/productivity and retaining talent’. 
  • Organise NDESB events with a focus on developing higher skills and educational achievements to prepare the workforce for the future prosperity of Northern Devon, raising awareness and signposting campaigns/events. 
  • Maintain records of measures and KPI’s against NDESB’s strategic objectives. 

5 Administration 

  • Forward dates for meetings will be arranged annually. Six meetings per year will be take place and be scheduled accordingly. NDESB Strategic Board x 3 and Advisory Group x 3. 
  • Agenda and supporting documentation will be forwarded to members no less than two weeks prior to each meeting. 
  • Minutes of each meeting will be approved by the chair and circulated to group members within two weeks of the meeting. 
  • The group will be able to establish appropriate sub-groups to handle specialist areas or other priority tasks including applications for funding. 
  • General administrative duties will be undertaken through the secretariat. 
  • All NDESB minutes will be available on the website. 

6 NDESB Strategic Board 

The NDESB Strategic Board will consist of an elected chair, representatives from the two local authorities, North Devon and Torridge, and appointed business/industry organisations, to ensure the views of all businesses are represented from private and public sectors from micro businesses through to small, medium and large enterprises. The NDESB Strategic board will meet 3 times per year to ensure the needs and concerns of the Advisory Group are actioned. The NDESB Strategic Board may also be referred to as the NDESB main board. 

7 NDESB Advisory Group 

The ultimate aim of this group is to provide, to the NDESB Strategic Board, the needs of local businesses and education sectors to influence communications and actions of their specific requirements and concerns. The NDESB Advisory Group will be an all-inclusive group of private and public sector organisations, with representation from micro-businesses through to large enterprises. 

Ref: NDESB,TOR v1 12.6.19