Shared Prosperity Fund Priority 3 – People and Skills

The Government has 3 investment priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which relate to 7 of the 12 Government Levelling up Missions. These are the priorities that Local Government Agencies must consider when planning for the future of their Towns and Cities.
The plan of this objective is to help remove the barriers to employment and education and to target funding support into skills for local areas to support employment and local growth.
The aim is to boost core skills and support adults to progress in work, by targeting those with no or low-level qualifications and skills in maths and upskill the working population. This will have a personal and economic impact by encouraging innovative approaches to reducing the adult learning barriers. IN England it is done through the Department of Education’s Multiply programme (
By tailoring investment in bespoke life and employment support, the theory is that levels of economic inactivity will be reduced – facilitating the cohesion of mainstream provision and local services within an area for participants. This should be supplementary to provision available through the national employment and skills programmes. The use of one-to-one keyworker support will aid the improvement in employment outcomes for specific cohorts who face labour market barriers. In turn, this will help local areas fund gaps in the local skills provision, supporting progress into work, supplementing local adult skills provision through a wider range of routes.
The success of this objective will be measured by the number of people supported to engage in job-searching and the number of people in employment, including self-employment, following support. The “Levelling Up” sets out 4 further missions for this objective to be attained by 2030.
  1. Employment and productivity to have risen in every area of the UK closing the gap between the top and bottom performers.
  2. Well-being to have improved in every area of the UK closing the gap between the top and bottom performers.
  3. A significant increase in the number of people successfully completing high-quality skills training. In England, this will lead to 200,000 more people successfully completing high-quality skills training annually, driven by 80,000 more people completing courses in the lowest skilled areas.
  4. The gap in Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest will have narrowed, and by 2035 HLE will rise by five years.
The two main elements for this objective are employment support for economically inactive people (benefit and non-benefit claimants) and funding skills provision to provide people with the skills needed to progress in life and work.
For Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland see
  • University College London – who were looking at inner regeneration in Teesside; and,
  • London School of Economics – who were looking at Industrial Decline and Revitalisation in the north.
  • UTC, MediaCity – by involving students in ongoing projects at Quayside Centre and giving them a unit to display works.
  • University of Salford – working with post-graduates on a study around green infrastructure inside a covered Centre environment.
We are also working to assist Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington.
We are passionate that with our collective 70 years’ experience we can contribute to the next generation of surveyors and planners. We bring extensive experience of working with further education, universities, schools and other training providers. We understand that there is a need to tailor training to be practical to the future employment opportunities in the locality. We also see the role that educational institutions can provide to the economic growth of an area.
The Whatifgroup have been working with the Sustainability Academy to develop their programme of training and development to enhance the individuals and corporate understanding of the social and environmental sustainability.
The Capita Group asked WhatIf Group to help them in developing a new town centre strategy in the Northeast. This was to assist the local authority with their ‘Levelling Up’ bid. We were able to assist in developing deliverable ideas within retail & leisure, culture and housing strategy. This will lead to employment enhancing the well-being of the people in the area, increasing the “pride in place” attitude that drives prosperity.
We pride ourselves on seeing the big picture (or looking outside the red line as we often say) in order to find the right strategy, something that can engage the community and not just sit in a drawer. It’s not about pretty pictures, it’s about a “bottom up “approach for the people by the people. Looking at short term wins with a bigger achievable objective.   Every place and community are unique – there is no one size fits all, so every strategy has to be different.
Full details for the source of this article can be found at
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash    
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