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Q&A – Phil Bourne, Digital Lead at Local London Skills Providers

At the Local London Skills Providers partnership, we’re passionate about developing green and digital skills. Our partnership ensures that skills providers are working closely with employers to deliver training that will address existing skills gaps, and puts learners in the best position to secure employment in the green and digital sectors.

We had the opportunity to speak with Phil Bourne, Digital Lead at LLSP, to gain insights into the project, hear about his personal highlights, and learn about his vision for the partnership’s future.

Q: What are the objectives of the Local London Skills Providers?

A: The objectives of the Local London Skills Providers are aimed at maximising the collaborative potential of some of the world’s best education providers to deliver challenges that will secure the skill-based future of our region.

The rate of change in the job market in recent years has been enormous, which means we have to step away and re-examine job opportunities continually. So, if we’re to meet these new needs effectively, we have to be creative in how we approach the issue of skills.

Ultimately, if we can support learners in developing transferable skills that can adapt to various job roles, we’ll be much better placed to more quickly adapt to the ever-changing world around us.

Q: Why did the LLSP choose to focus on digital skills?

A: Digital literacy underpins almost everything today. Its presence isn’t a niche or a distant career path; it’s now a fundamental requirement across all sectors and industries. A recent survey we ran actually showed that “three quarters of respondents (76%) believe digital skills will be needed to get a good job in the future” – we want to help people to realise their digital potential.

If we can do this, we’ll be able to help individuals to create and be whatever they want. Being digitally skilled opens up a vast array of career options. For instance, there are significant opportunities in areas such as AI, UX design, data analysis, content creation, and many other digital commodities.

The fundamental point is that avoiding digital skills is now done at one’s peril, and embracing its potential is crucial for future success.

Q: How has interaction between stakeholders worked so far?

A: Our interaction with stakeholders has been dynamic and continuously evolving. We’re working alongside 20 education providers, 9 local authorities and over 30 employers to make our work in green and digital possible.

Most importantly, we’re aiming to bridge a gap that is always moving. So, we’re employing new approaches like developing our microcredential courses, that allow us to split and slice content of existing qualifications into smaller qualifications, making them more appealing as they can be used by learners to fit the bespoke and evolving needs of employers.

Q: Are there any ‘digital’ highlights that stand out to you in LLSP’s work so far?

A: Yes, there are several highlights, but one that stands out is our initiative to link 20 adult learning centres and FE partners through immersive, digital learning suites. This setup allows a teacher in one area to deliver content to connected suites across the LLSP network.

By removing the issue of supply, we’re able to support demand in our partners’ courses by using the most skilled people in one area to support learners across the region. This improves collaboration, choice, and coverage of content whilst enhancing the likelihood of positive outcomes for both students and employers.

The physical infrastructure of these suites will be in place by August 2024, with experimental collaboration starting immediately afterward. The next step is to realise the full potential these spaces can provide.

Q: Lastly, what does success look like for the LLSP and its digital ambitions?

A: Absolute success for the LLSP would be the creation of learning structures that are adaptable, flexible and able to meet the needs of all learners and employers in our partnership.

We want to increase reach and deliver previously ‘undeliverable’ courses to learners who might not once have had the chance to do so.

To get there, this means effective sharing of resources and continued focus between our partners on the benefits of collaboration, whilst giving learners a rich and valuable experience that contributes towards their future success.

Collaboration is fundamental to all of this. We’re undertaking an ambitious project that will only succeed if prospective education providers and employers see the value in the work we’re undertaking.

 We’ve already achieved some great things, but I know that to-date, interaction and success with our stakeholders is just the tip of the iceberg! There is so much more potential in what the LLSP can achieve.

If you’re a student and would like to know more about the Local London Skills Providers partnership, follow this link. If you’re an employer in the green or digital sector and would like to contribute to the work being done, please follow this link.


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