Employment and Skills Case Studies

How cities within the UK and abroad are taking steps to improve the skills of their residents, support higher productivity and boost jobs growth.

Case study library

Supporting employment and skills in cities

UK cities are home to the majority of the jobs in the UK economy. But the number and types of jobs vary between cities, partly reflecting big differences in people’s skills, experience and qualifications across different places. Evidence shows that to attract business investment and support new jobs, UK cities must focus on improving the skills of their residents. Read on for examples of how cities within the UK and internationally are addressing skills gaps and supporting employment.

These case studies reflect how cities have sought to make improvements to the different challenges and present their self-reported outcomes. These are intended to help cities to approach their own similar policy challenges. To find out more about the specific impact on local economic growth for similar programmes and interventions, the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth offers a number of rigorous policy evaluations, and policy design guides in areas such as Employment Training and Apprenticeships.

Adult employment programmes

Employment programmes can help job seekers in attaining and retaining a job or new skills, and in navigating a quickly changing labour market affected by shifting demographics. Cities can promote employment by working in collaboration with relevant organisations, matching supply and demand needs, increasing the accessibility of services and creating new effective and efficient pathways into employment.

Adult skills training

The skills of any workforce are critical for building a strong economy, and improving business growth, employment and wages. A city with a skilled population is more likely to attract firms and thus provide job opportunities for residents – and in order to move into employment, people need to be equipped with the skills employers demand. Cities can improve the skills of their residents by providing training relevant to their local needs, working with employers to match supply and demand, promoting collaborations and offering tailored support for residents. 

City deals and skills

Naomi Clayton and Louise McGough

How have City and Local Growth Deals supported the development of employment and skills policies that reflect local demand?

Report 2 Jul 2015

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an increasingly central part of the UK’s skills and employment policies. They are regarded by employers and policymakers as providing an important pathway from education into employment, and a means by which to address the country’s skills and productivity gaps. Cities can strengthen the apprenticeship system and make it relevant to their local needs by raising awareness among employers and students, helping businesses to overcome administrative and financial barriers and matching employers with training providers.

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Education

Improving education outcomes in a city can have a positive impact on its economic growth. People continuing into higher education are more likely to have better employment prospects and earn high wages. Education can also be a powerful tool to improve social mobility and open up opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Cities can ensure their education offer is relevant to the needs of both its students and employers by promoting education initiatives and programmes, providing financial help to students and working closely with providers and employers.

Youth Opportunity

Naomi Clayton

This report highlights the need for the private sector to play a leading role in addressing the youth unemployment challenge in UK cities.

Report 23 Apr 2015

Collaboration between universities and business

Knowledge-intensive businesses and services are significant drivers of growth, and are increasingly based in urban areas. For many UK cities, universities provide their greatest concentration of knowledge and innovation, so national and local decision makers are increasingly looking to support collaborations between universities and high-growth firms. Cities can encourage this by building cross-border networks, investing in local strengths, taking advantage of their history and brand and anchoring relationships through large firms.

Youth (16-24) employment programmes

Younger generations entering the labour market today face different challenges compared to previous generations. Shifting demographics, the increasing number of graduates and the changing shape of the labour market all have an impact on young people’s employment prospects. Cities can promote youth employment by working in collaboration with relevant organisations, matching supply and demand, increasing the accessibility of services and creating new effective and efficient pathways into employment.

Youth skills training

Being unemployed at a young age can have consequences that are lifetime long. Youth skill training is essential to ensure young people are endowed with the skills relevant to the labour market. Cities are in a better position to address the needs of their young residents as they are more likely to have a good grasp of the specific barriers young people face, how to target the most disengaged and what training and employment opportunities are available. To be successful, cities engage with employers and training providers, promote new initiatives and target interventions.

Youth Opportunity

Naomi Clayton

This report highlights the need for the private sector to play a leading role in addressing the youth unemployment challenge in UK cities.

Report 23 Apr 2015

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