Semta in the City

Posted on 17 Aug 2010 by The Manufacturer

The newest in a string of Semta regional councils will support industry skills development in London, raising the profile of manufacturing in the UKs’ service-centric capital.

Semta, Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies, has created a new Regional Council for London to better support the skills needs of employers in the region. The council will be led by the Chairman of Ford UK, Joe Greenwell. Ford has a long association with Semta and Joe brings a wealth of experience in the challenges and opportunities associated with tackling skills and training.

While some areas of London have strong manufacturing heritage, such as Tottenham and it’s once resilient light engineering industry, the decline of manufacturing as a contributor to GDP and the rise of service based industries in the capital mean that skills development for manufacturing at urban colleges is often low on the agenda.

In line with further education attempts to alter this state of affairs and provide more in terms of apprenticeships and vocational training the regional council for London aims to better understand the specific skills needs of employers in Semta’s sectors. The Regional Council will help communicate these needs in appropriate channels at both a local and national government level as well as becoming a conduit for guidance on course developments in FE institutions.

Semta represents 44,200 employees at 4390 sites in London where 14 per cent engineering companies have reported skills gaps which they fear will hamper competitive performance as the UK recovers from recession. Semta has been working to support these organisations and since September 2008 has developed training plans with 37 London companies. This has resulted in some 106 employees in the region being signed up for national vocational qualifications.

Lynn Tomkins, UK Operations Director of Semta, said: “Semta is dedicated to simplifying the skills landscape and, to meet the needs of employers, it is vital that they are able to communicate their specific needs in each region. The newly established Regional Councils will better enable us to ensure that Semta and our National Skills Academy for Manufacturing are offering the right sort of training and funding support, helping mitigate the current mismatch between supply and demand.