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The North- East LEP area busts the highest proportion of apprenticeships and the highest number of employers taking on apprentices in the UK.
However, the region also faces key skills challenges that inhibit business growth. These include a low skilled workforce with insufficient numbers of employed people qualified to level 3 and above. Furthermore, there is a mismatch between supply and demand in the labour market, with digital skills being a key gap for North- East employers. This is holding back economic growth, productivity and social mobility. As the 'Digital Skills for the UK Economy' report states (2016), significant value can be added to the economy and society through better investment in digital skills; this not only related to job creation but also to company productivity and scaling-up markets for companies including SMEs. For these reasons the measure aims to support digital skills development within the digital /tech sector and/or across the general workforce where this enhances opportunities for job progression and development.
It is important, in order to have a positive impact on the success degree of the measure, to have digital-oriented SMEs. In fact, SMEs must need the lack of digital qualified employees. If there is this condition, this kind of measure will have good results. However, one negative factor that could have a negative impact on the degree of success of the measure is the fact that there is not collaboration between SMEs and the educational system.
In implementing this type of measure, regional stakeholders must have an ex-ante analysis of the economic picture of the territory. They need to investigate the gap emerged from this analysis and then decide what kind of actions must be taken. It must be avoid to focus only on economic indicators but regional stakeholders must rely also on educational indicators.