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. We also aim to facilitate ways to address skills gap in key sectors.

If you want to find out more about how this will be achieved, read more here. If you have been affected by issues surrounding skills and labour force and need advice, please contact V4B.

V4B Skills Forum 2017

The inaugural V4B business forum took place on October 10 at Steventon House Hotel. Vale4Business Ambassadors were joined by over 35 attendees for a time to network and focus on skills.

Speakers Michelle Smith from Education Business Partnership (EBP), Ali Adams of UTC Oxfordshire and Kate Benefer of Royds Withy King presented three practical approaches to addressing skill and workforce issues, and the cost to businesses. The presentations from EBP and UTC Oxfordshire are now available to download via the below links:

UTC Presentation for V4B Skills Forum

EBP Presentation for V4B Skills Forum

The presentations were followed by a Q&A session that covered subjects ranging from the skills gaps, effective use of the apprenticeship levy and employment opportunities for people facing severe disadvantages.  With the variety of organisations in the room ranging from social enterprises, to educational providers, recruitment specialists and more, a number of interesting views and experiences were raised with potential action points and solutions put forward for further discussion.

Have a concern or an opportunity related to skills or labour force in Vale of White Horse? Why not email us at

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:


Vale4Business is now also supported by our very own apprentice based in the economic development team of the Vale Council.  Kate Gee joined the team in September 2015 as an Administration Assistant. Kate explained why she decided to enroll in the apprenticeship scheme.

Kate Gee (2)She said: “I chose to do an apprenticeship because you gain experience and knowledge from the working environment and learn new skills that you wouldn’t necessarily gain from doing a qualification at college.

“I hope to gain both NVQ 2 and 3 in Business Administration, and life skills from working in an office environment.”

Vale of White Horse District Council updated their recruitment procedures so that when a department has a job vacancy, they will be asked if they have considered whether the vacant role could be suitable for an apprenticeship. The council has taken on five apprentices in various positions over the last few years.

Find out more: Apprenticeships and training. Your gateway to opportunity!

Apprenticeship websiteOxfordshire Apprenticeships

Oxfordshire County Council have a dedicated website – Oxfordshire Apprenticeships – for businesses, employers, parents and potential apprentices. The website also contains information to help businesses gain a better understanding of how apprenticeships work, the cost, and where to start.

The national apprenticeship website is also a valuable resource for businesses, which includes a vacancies database.

Abingdon and Witney College business support

Abingdon and Witney college have put together a Employer’s Guide to Apprenticeships, which can be downloaded here.

Their website also contains information for employers and a searchable database of apprenticeship vacancies they have to offer, click here to visit the Abingdon and Witney College website.

UTC Oxfordshire

Based in Harwell, Didcot. UTC Oxfordshire is an innovative new approach to learning for 14-19 year olds that offers specialist programmes alongside a core curriculum.

A UTC is different from an average school because it has support and backing from the local business community and has high profile industry partners involved in the development of the curriculum. One or more universities are involved to make sure that the UTC really can offer students the best of both worlds.

UTCs are for students aged 14 to 19, as this is the age when they’ll have a better idea of what they are really interested in and whether they would enjoy learning in high-tech surroundings. At 14, students are likely to be ready to study in a real-world environment, where they can gain the practical experience and develop the skills that would lead them into work or university.

UTC Oxfordshire is associated with The Baker Dearing Educational Trust and UTColleges which promotes this new model of technical schooling. The work of technicians and other highly skilled vocationally qualified people is vital to our economy.


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: