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The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is looking to address the shortage of skills across the region with the launch of a new recruiter’s forum.

The forum, which saw its inaugural meeting in December, seeks to provide real-time updates to the LEP on the skills most needed by employers, to help guide the organisation’s funding decisions.

Established by Kate van der Sluis from Welton-based recruitment agency Emmerson Kitney, the forum consists of senior HR managers from some of the region’s top companies and other director-level recruitment professionals.

Its members cover a wide range of sectors including engineering, gas and oil, shipping and food who will meet regularly to build comprehensive picture of the skills needed in the Humber region.

Kate van der Sluis said the idea for the forum came out of a conversation she had had with LEP members about addressing the region’s skills needs.

Previously the LEP had been reliant on London-based market researchers who did not have sufficient local knowledge to give a complete picture of the local jobs market.

Kate said: “The problem with think tanks is they take six months to deliver reports, by which point the information is out of date and not accurate enough for the LEP to make serious spending decisions.

“Also, because they are based in London they don’t know the market around here anywhere near as well as local recruiters and HR people do. After all, they are the experts on what skills they need in their companies and what skills they already have.

“With that in mind we decided the best solution would be to set up this forum in which people dealing day-to-day with recruitment and HR issues could report directly on what their respective companies require. This way the LEP benefits from real-time updates and can apportion their budget appropriately.”

The forum held its first meeting in December and will meet on a quarterly basis to report its findings back to the LEP board.

Those participating will get to display the ‘Humber Skills Pledge’ badge on their websites, demonstrating their commitment to the growth and development of the region.

Lynn Benton, employment and skills manager for the LEP, said the information the organisation receives will allow it to help employers get the right skills for their companies, and give guidance to individuals looking to up-skill.

She said: “Recruiters hold the key to getting a clear picture of what skills the region needs and the forum is the best way of accessing that information. For example, one of the points to come out the first meeting was the need for digital marketing skills, which we can now look to address. We wouldn’t have known that without holding the forum.”