The north of England needs a skilled workforce and a system for skills development that meets the changing needs of the regional economy.

Qualifications levels across the north of England are lower than for England as a whole. The Employer Skills Survey suggests that that trends in skills shortages and gaps in the north of England are distributed differently across occupations from national ones, and also that there are some striking contrasts between parts of the North. Devolving some powers and budgets for skills would help to align provision with regional economic and social priorities, and to create more agile and efficient systems. For this project, we worked with officers from a small group of northern Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Our recommendations are set in the context of the Skills 2030 framework for reform of the adult skills system in England (Dromey et al 2017).