LSC takes a regional approach to growth

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has scaled back its national office in
Coventry and appointed 10 new regional directors to drive forward the
organisation’s partnership for working on skills.

The introduction of a regional element to the LSC’s management structure
follows the appointment of Mark Haysom as chief executive of the LSC network
last autumn and is partly in response to the Government’s skills strategy to
create a more demand-led system of adults skills training.

The strategy, launched last year, emphasised the importance of a regional
dimension to skills development, involving organisations such as regional
development agencies (RDAs), and the establishment of regional skills partnerships
between stakeholders.

As a result of the new structure, centres for vocational excellence, which
had been planned locally, will now be run regionally.

There are 47 local LSCs in England, and the new directors will be based at
an LSC in their region. "It’s not setting up a new tier, it’s introducing
a more focused way of working," said Jacqui Henderson, regional director
for London. "As far as regional partners are concerned, there is one point
of contact and a more co-ordinated way of working with the local LSCs."

The LSC’s national office has been reorganised around two groups – learning
and skills – with the aim of creating a simplified structure with clear areas
of responsibility. Caroline Neville is leading the learning group, and
recruitment is under way for the new post of director of skills. Back-office
functions have been scaled back to build up the regional positions, according
to Rob Wye, director of the chief executive’s division.

"The LSC’s job is delivering skills to employers," said Wye.
"The big advantage of introducing regional directors is that we have a
natural interface with players in the regional skills partnerships.

"At national level, we can talk with the Confederation of British
Industry and chambers of commerce," he continued. "At regional level,
we can relate to regional CBIs, RDAs and the employers operating at a
bigger-than-local level. And we will still be able to engage with smaller
employers on a local level."

Meanwhile, the LSC is also preparing to roll out what it describes as
"a radical new way of working with its customers", after piloting the
process in the East and West Midlands.

Essentially a strategic planning tool, the new business cycle will outline
the organisation’s priorities for the upcoming year, and contain a timeline of
key events and decisions impacting partners, including announcements regarding
funding, inspections and performance reviews.

The annual framework is being billed as a means of providing clarity and
collaboration across the skills sector, and implementing greater responsiveness
to local needs.

By Margaret Kubicek

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