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Skills Strategy

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1. Introduction

Developing the skills and employability of the labour market is essential to driving prosperity. This skills strategy for Exeter aligns with the Exeter 2040 vision and builds on the success of the city as a vibrant and dynamic city embracing the future whilst celebrating a past that is rich in heritage.

By the time they are an adult, a child born in Exeter today will live in a city that is inclusive, healthy and sustainable - a city where the opportunities and benefits of prosperity are shared and all citizens are able to participate fully in the city’s economic, social, cultural and civic life.

Exeter has a strong foundation for skills provision with an Ofsted Outstanding college (achieving its best ever A Level results in 2022), a leading Russell Group University (frequently ranked in the top 20 in the UK), an innovative Mathematics School, and a new Institute of Technology, as well as a host of independent training providers. The Civic University Agreement strengthens the skills landscape by bringing together some of these organisations in partnership (Exeter University, Exeter College, Exeter City Council and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust) to support sustainable and inclusive growth, raise aspirations and enhance the wellbeing of citizens. Many of the schools in the city are Good or Outstanding Ofsted ranked and GCSE attainment 8 scores are above the England average. Utilising these strengths is key to responding successfully to the opportunities and challenges for the city.

This strategy sets out the employment and skills priorities for Exeter until 2025, based on the national and local evidence, and the action undertaken in response by stakeholders across the city. The skills strategy supports the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Local Skills Plan and will seek to align with the aspirations of Shared Prosperity Funding, where Exeter as a local authority has received £1.4m in addition to the centrally run adult numeracy programme, Multiply, which will be delivered by upper tier authorities. The County Deal for Devon, Plymouth and Torbay will also provide more scope to influence the education and skills policy response at a local level, impacting the provision in Exeter.

Key Strengths and Successes

  • Majority of the working age population qualified at Level 4 and above
  • Ofsted Outstanding Further Education College since 2014
  • Exeter College consistently in top 5 with FE Week
  • Ofsted Outstanding Mathematics School – one of the first in the country
  • ‘City of Apprenticeships’ awarded by City and Guilds in 2020
  • Award winning support for careers and employment through Exeter Works and Youth Hub Devon
  • South West Institute of Technology in wave 1 of developments
  • Building Greater Exeter collaborative partnership supporting the construction sector
  • Highly effective and successful skills Bootcamp delivery
  • Proportionately more new business start-ups in Exeter than England
  • Low unemployment rate compared to national average
  • Host to the first corporate eSports Festival in the South West
  • High average earnings for Devon
  • Greater proportion of apprenticeships than nationally