Q 1 What are the regional norms and trends for those industry sectors that are present in the town?
The area has a very wide range of business sector and size, which means it is protected from major changes in any one sector.
Some public sector organisations are reducing their presence, there are likely to be problems in the construction sector and a recession would hit all sectors.
Q 2 To what extent has the town centre become a less significant location for retail and service sector development?
Assess to what extent it is maintaining and attracting branches of major chains, and maintaining or attracting independent shops.
(Worksheets S7; T2 Q12; T3 Q16 also refer to the retail and service sector)
The town is a centre for specialist shops, “top up” food shopping plus a very popular monthly Farmer’s Market.
The reduction of food shops is of concern o local people and businesses who want the town to remain their local Market Town.
Local businesses are concerned that branches of chains moving into the town could raise rents and make the town uneconomic for it’s signature small shops. There is also concern at the number of restaurants, hair salons and estate agents opening, taking the place of specialist shops and reducing the offer of the town.
Q 3 How has employment in retail and service sector changed regarding full time/part-time jobs?
(Worksheets S7; T2 Q12; T3 Q16 also refer to the retail and service sector. Worksheet S1 Q4 also refers to employment)
The area has an average level of full and part time jobs (more Full Time than the Borough average). Employment is very high and there has been little chance in employment levels.
Q 4 What are the issues around the attainment of basic literacy and numeracy skills?
There is a higher proportion of Managers, Assistant professionals & technical, administrative and secretarial workers in the area, and lower proportion of process operative and elementary occupations in the area than the UK average. Slightly fewer people have no qualifications than the UK average.
NOMIS Census data 2001
Q 5 Skills
a.What particular generic skills needs do the industries in your area have?
b.To what extent are they being met?
There is a 10% skills gap across all sectors with employers reporting the following gaps: Communication, customer service, team working, technical and practical skills, problem solving.
The national curriculum is addressing these, as are Job Centre Plus courses for unemployed.
a.How do existing training services in the town meet employers’ requirements?
b.How good are those services?
There are adequate training services available in the area.
Q 7 Which employers provide local training or have their own training facilities for which there might be scope for sharing?
The large businesses run their own training. There are many local courses available from training providers.
Q 8 What are employers' specific skills training and development needs?
Generic skills needs as above – there may be demand for small retail business specific training.
Q 9 What specific recruitment and staff retention issues are there that could be addressed through local training provision?
(Worksheet S1 Q4 also refers to employment)
No specific problems reported.
Q 10 Skills development
a.How do employers encourage training and skills development?
b.How do employers participate in training and skills development?
c.What are the barriers to that participation?
Larger businesses encourage skills development. Smaller businesses are more likely to provide on-job training; some participate in work experience opportunities from the local FE colleges (e.g. Hairdressing, Care).
Relatively few smaller businesses are involved in Investors in People. They expect people to be recruited with the required qualifications.
Barriers to participation in paid for skills development are time and money
Q 11 To what extent do employers recognise the business benefits of training and skills development?
Employers recognise the business benefits, but many prefer to provide their own on-job training.