The Skills White Paper ‘21st Century Skills - Realising Our Potential: Individuals, Employers, Nation' - called the ‘Skills Strategy' - was published in July 2003 by the DfES (predecessor to DCSF), Department of Trade and Industry, HM Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The aim of the Skills Strategy is to ensure that employers have the right skills to support the success of their businesses and individuals have the skills they need to be both employable and personally fulfilled.
Government Offices (GOs) work with their partners in each region to help realise this vision, aiming to increase the influence of employers and individuals over the supply of skills and encouraging more collaborative working across all of the different organisations supporting the skills agenda.
Tasks include working with Regional Development Agencies (RDA) and regional partners to develop new relationships through a ‘Regional Skills Partnership’; further development of the Regional Economic Strategy and ‘Frameworks for Regional Employment and Skills Action,’ which strive to deliver the Skills Strategy to reduce the deficit in adult skills; working with partners (including RDAs, Jobcentre Plus and the Learning and Skills Council) on workforce development initiatives; and leading on implementing a number of Test-bed Learning Communities.
GOs also bring together the relevant delivery agents and local employers, to support them in improving education attainment rates, as well as behaviour and attendance performance. Developing networks is an essential element of this often wide and diverse role, together with our efforts to forge strong relationships with a range of DCSF’s strategic advisers. These advisors include the Regional Change Adviser, who leads on development of the ‘Every Child Matters: Change For Children’ programme.
GOs play a vital role in encouraging partnership working with national, regional and local partners, and ensure that other Government departments – such as Communities and Local Government, Department of Health, DWP and Department for Culture, Media and Sport – work together in the regions to achieve DCSF priorities.
Other key GO functions include:
- through their observer role, working alongside the Learning & Skills Councils boards to ensure strategies on education, skills and employment issues reflect government priorities and are linked with those of key partners, such as Connexions and Local Strategic Partnerships
- promoting DCSF’s key messages to key regional stakeholders and provide information and feedback to the Department about the effectiveness of its policies and programmes
- ensuring regeneration initiatives include measures to support education and skills strategic objectives
- working with other government departments to develop school infrastructure, schools and adult skills provision to meet the needs of growth areas
- supporting implementation of the extended schools initiative, providing open schools for pupils, families and the wider community with learning and recreational opportunities
- assisting Jobcentre Plus in working with partners to ensure that their policies and programmes fit in with the wider education and skills agenda
- supporting DCSF's officials in their work with Local Authorities as they move towards Children’s Trust arrangements
- working with the higher education sector to encourage widening participation, the development of higher-level skills and support for the ‘Aimhigher’ programme