14 January 2021

Regional skills high on agenda with nationally leading partnership

The University of Sheffield is part of a new regional skills partnership in the Sheffield City Region, which aims to tackle current and future skills shortages in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apprentice
  • University of Sheffield joins key institutions in the Sheffield City Region to form a new Regional Post-18 Education Partnership. 
  • The partnership aims to tackle current and future skills shortages in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The University of Sheffield is part of a new regional skills partnership in the Sheffield City Region, which aims to tackle current and future skills shortages in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Regional Post-18 Education Partnership has been developed to identify positive and practical actions which can impact the most disadvantaged young people and adults in the region as they enter the post-18 system through education or work.

The partnership is aiming to support those young people and adults most impacted by educational disparity. Secondary school pupils in the region who receive free school meals for 80 per cent or more of their school lives are on average 25 months behind in their academic progress compared to their peers.

It is widely accepted that the Covid-19 crisis is likely to have caused particular hardship to the poorest and most vulnerable children in society. In addition, a high proportion of jobs and businesses have been affected, resulting in many adults needing to re-enter education to gain employment or retrain for a new career. 

Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, the partnership will act as a forum for building a post-18 education and skills system in the Sheffield City Region and will focus on issues such as skills shortages, education progression routes, apprenticeship opportunities, outreach work with hard-to-reach communities and delivering lifelong learning.

The partnership brings together leaders from the region’s further and higher education providers, the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and the Higher Education Progression Partnership. 

The Regional Post-18 Education Partnership will:

  • Work collaboratively to deliver solutions to overcoming barriers to education and skills opportunities in the region;
  • Address identified skills shortage in priority industries through close collaboration and innovative delivery of learning;
  • develop ambitious progression routes leading to work or further study in areas of skills shortage and employment demand; 
  • build on and promoting the work of HEPPsy and facilitate increased joint outreach and communications strategies with schools and employers;
  • consider innovative approaches to encourage lifelong learning, including collaborative development of more flexible delivery;
  • influence national policy debates affecting the post-18 system and the interconnection between the HE/FE system, as well as aiming to shape the Government’s £3 billion National Skills Fund; and,
  • connect into wider discussions around the civic role of anchor institutions in a post-Covid world.

As a truly civic university and anchor institution, we take seriously our responsibility to the region’s people, economy, healthcare and education

Professor Koen Lamberts

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “As a truly civic university and anchor institution, we take seriously our responsibility to the region’s people, economy, healthcare and education.

“This partnership brings together the region’s key educational institutions which have a collective responsibility to support the education of the most disadvantaged young people in the region. This collaborative work and the shared vision of the Partnership signals the beginning of what we hope will be lasting and demonstrable change to post-18 education routes for those who need it most.”

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and Chair of the Partnership, said: “As local anchor institutions, we believe we have a civic duty to support our region’s economy, health and communities. All of the partners are absolutely determined to play our part in trying to ensure that the pandemic does not compound pre-existing educational inequalities in the Sheffield City Region. 

“We have a shared commitment to embed a more connected and coherent post-18 system for our region and we have made excellent progress in developing a set of guiding principles and proposed actions. We must now turn this good will, collaboration and shared vision into impactful and lasting change.”

Yiannis Koursis, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Barnsley College and Chair of the South Yorkshire Principals’ Group, said: “As the education systems leaders in South Yorkshire, it is upon us to meet the skills demands of the future, and successfully rebuild our region’s economy post-pandemic. This can only be achieved through collaborative partnerships, innovative engagement, and creation of opportunities for the practical benefit of people, businesses and communities we serve. 

“The South Yorkshire Principals’ Group is working closely with the Sheffield City Region LEP on the region’s rebuild, and the Post-18 Education Partnership is the perfect example of how collaborative working and a greater emphasis on partnerships across the whole region will unlock economic recovery.”

Regional Post-18 Education Partnership


Notes to editors

Regional organisations currently represented in the partnership: the University of Sheffield, Barnsley College, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Chesterfield College, DN Colleges Group, Higher Education Progression Partnership, Northern College, Sheffield City Region, Sheffield Hallam University, The RNN Group and The Sheffield College.

Additional information

    The University of Sheffield

    With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

    A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

    Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

    Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

    Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

    Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.