Is Yorkshire Putting Digital First?

How Yorkshire Learning Providers worked with Lightcast to meet digital skills demand for LSIF priorities

Published on Jun 14, 2024

Written by Mariana Marques

Yorkshire Learning Providers (YLP) is a network of educational institutions based in Yorkshire, England. It brings training providers, schools, colleges, and universities together, helping them deliver high-quality education that meets local skills needs. In addition to supporting provision improvement, YLP offers funding programmes, regular conferences and workshops, and works closely with key organisations to best represent education providers’ needs, challenges, and goals.  

Is Yorkshire going digital? 

As a delivery and research partner for the York & North Yorkshire Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), one of YLP’s key projects was to identify digital skills trends across the region. This data would not only support efforts to improve curriculum and meet local skills demand but also provide YLP and other local organisations with an accurate, timely overview of the Yorkshire region's digital blueprint to inform future initiatives. 

This project involved various interviews, discussions with stakeholders and industry leaders, and in-person visits to colleges and schools. However, deep dives like this require extensive research, too. YLP needed a data partner and an expert team of labour market researchers that could explore skills trends with high accuracy and deliver relevant findings. 

Partnering with Lightcast 

In March 2024, YLP partnered with Lightcast to get a complete report on digital skills trends across the following six priority sectors in the region: Agriculture & Agritech; Construction; Digital and Tech; Engineering; Health and Social Care; and Visitor Economy.

To support our research into the digital skills needs across York & North Yorkshire, we focused on three core categories – individuals, employers, and industry, to allow us to really shape the context of barriers, needs, gaps and recommendations. We felt it was extremely important for the research to include industry deep dives that provide data on the now, but also look to the future, in order to aid the response from education and curriculum. We, therefore, commissioned the expertise of Lightcast to complete a range of industry deep dives to add an extra element to the research.

Alex Miles, Managing Director, Yorkshire Learning Providers

But first, what does “digital” mean?

The Lightcast team uses our proprietary Open Skills Taxonomy to identify, categorise, and analyse digital skills. The taxonomy is composed of over 40 categories, so even within the broader “digital” cluster, there are basic and advanced digital skills, as well as skills indirectly related to digital. Our high level of granularity and precision ensures that we categorise skills with as much accuracy as possible to identify both regional and global trends. For example, we built our Digital Skills Outlook 2024 using this taxonomy to explore global digital trends.

A sneak peek into the report 

Using our granular data, our expert team analysed:

  • Digital skills trends based on digital job postings over the last three years

  • The top 10 occupations and job titles requiring digital skills

  • The top 10 employers hiring for digital jobs 

  • The top 10 digital skills most frequently cited by employers in job postings, as well as the most commonly cited soft skills and technical skills for each digital role 

  • A deeper dive into digital job postings to understand minimum education requirements

An open door for investment in digital skills 

With this comprehensive research piece, YLP and the York & North Yorkshire LSIF have now gained deep visibility into the status of digital skills demand across their region. Having identified what employers, occupations, and job roles need digital skills, they can work collaboratively with education providers to improve curriculum and address gaps. Ultimately, this means students can leave their academic journeys with the relevant digital skills to succeed in the local job market while supporting business needs. 

Furthermore, identifying top employers hiring for digital roles leaves YLP with a list of key stakeholders to engage in business support initiatives, which will contribute to economic growth in the region. 

Working with the team at Lightcast was great, they completely understood the assignment from the outset, got right down to business and provided ongoing updates and progress. The reports are exactly what we wanted and have really helped bring the research and report to life.

Alex Miles, Managing Director, Yorkshire Learning Providers

We're working with Employer Representative Bodies (ERBs) and Colleges across the country to help them understand skills demand in their LSIP priority sectors, and to showcase to stakeholders how their interventions are meeting these needs. Get in touch to find out how we can help your organisation.

Ready to Solve Problems Together?