Cabinet is set to approve the adoption of a plan to tackle the long-standing issue of low skills in Birmingham by ensuring people of all ages are equipped with the skills they need to secure sustainable and well-paid jobs. Developed in conjunction with partners, the Birmingham Skills Investment Plan (BSIP) sets out the challenges relating to low skills and unemployment in the city and how these will be addressed in the long-term.

The plan is designed to join up, influence and ensure best use of employment and skills funding, both now and in the future, with a particular focus on tackling the skills gap as well as skills mismatch, which results in employers struggling to fill higher-skilled jobs.

The BSIP reinforces the Birmingham Youth Promise, which has pledged to provide young people in the city with the support they need to gain employment, develop their skills and strengths – particularly through apprenticeships and work experience placements – and make the most of the opportunities available. This will be further strengthened with the launch of a digital careers website for young people later this year.

Councillor Penny Holbrook, cabinet member for skills, learning and culture, said: “One of the issues we are facing as a city is the real need for a more highly skilled workforce in order to close the gap between supply and demand in certain sectors of employment.

“Crucial to this is the need to ensure that every child in the city has access to high quality, independent careers advice so that they can make informed choices about the subjects they choose at school and are confident in their future career options. The BSIP maps out where the jobs are now and the types of jobs employers will be recruiting for in the coming years.

“If we do not work to increase skills levels over the next 10 years then we will have a situation where 174,000 low skilled workers are chasing 150,000 low-skilled jobs, meaning 24,000 individuals will be left with an increased risk of unemployment. At the same time, we will have 85,000 people with intermediate skills chasing 80,000 jobs, while employers will struggle to recruit to the estimated 230,000 higher-skilled jobs needed with only 184,000 higher-skilled workers.

“Clearly, this will have a knock-on effect, not just on the individuals in question, but on their wider communities, the city and the regional economy as a whole. This is why the BSIP is so important – it highlights where these skills gaps are and how we will go about closing them.”