Skills and Labour Force

The second of the four key objectives outlined on the BIS is to support businesses struggling with attracting and retaining skilled staff, particularly young people and graduates. Vale4Business is heavily involved in facilitating ways to address skills gap in key sectors including building links between educational institutions and employers, holding careers fairs, giving talks to students and funding pop up business schools. You can read more here.

If you have been affected by issues surrounding skills and labour force and need advice, please contact V4B.

Young Enterprise

To help promote SME career opportunities and engage with education providers, Vale4Business team members David Cookson and Nick King currently volunteer for Young Enterprise

Young Enterprise is an organisation that works with young people to support them to develop their employability skills, by delivering enterprise and financial education programmes in schools, colleges and universities.

David and Nick work as Business Advisers for pupils from Larkmead School in Abingdon as they take on Young Enterprise’s Company Programme, a scheme that allows students to find out what it’s like to set up and run a business throughout one academic year.

As mentors, the V4B team: 

  • Share our skills, experience and insights of the world of work
  • Provide motivation and inspiration to the students
  • Encourage students to reflect on the skills they are developing & identify how they can use these skills in the future
  • Help students gain an understanding of how a company works – including aspects such as marketing, operations and finance.

In addition, Nick is also a member of the Young Enterprise Board for South and Vale, helping to direct and organise YE programmes in the area. If you’re interested in finding out more about Young Enterprise, or would like to get involved, please contact

Skills and Labour at Vale of White Horse District Council

Work Experience

Work experience placements offer a long term solution to addressing the skills gap and engaging employers with young people. If you’re an employer thinking about offering work experience, read the OxLEP guide here.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have provided a large number of work experience placements for students since January 2017 working in various teams including: Leisure, Policy and Partnerships, Economic Development, Environmental Health and Protection, Licensing (Capita), Housing Development, Legal, The Beacon and Cornerstone Arts Centre:

  • 36 students
  • two young people through Job Centre Plus
  • one undergraduate on a long term paid placement
  • 61 per cent female and 31 per cent male
  • 100 per cent of students enjoyed their placement and would recommend it

Find out more about their experiences at the councils by viewing the below newsletter:

Work Experience Newsletter 2017

To find out more about work experience opportunities at South and Vale District Councils, please email young people’s co-ordinator:

Oxford Advanced Skills

The Oxford Advanced Skills training centre enables Oxfordshire businesses to offer young people hi-tech and engineering apprenticeships of the highest quality.

It offers unique benefits for employers, apprentices and the local economy in one of the most thriving areas for science and technology in the UK.

Located at Culham Science Centre, the home of the UK’s fusion energy research programme, Oxford Advanced Skills is a partnership between the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Science & Technology Facilities Council. The centre is managed by leading apprentice training provider JTL, which works with 6,000 learners and 3,500 employers across England and Wales.

Oxford Advanced Skills is now open and took its first intake of apprentices in September 2016. Eventually the centre will train 125 young people per year in a purpose-built training facility at Culham.

Does your organisation offer solutions to the skills gap? Get in touch: