NESCOL is a provider of further and higher education and training in the North East of Scotland, with hubs located across Aberdeenshire and Fraserburgh. The college was keen to become more responsive to the needs of the local community by improving its career advice and giving students information directly related to local employment opportunities. To do this it wanted to produce an online LMI tool that used a local assessment of the areas NESCOL operates in to show how the courses offered are relevant to growth sectors and job opportunities in the local economy.
As NESCOL lacked the resources needed to analyse a vast amount of data itself, it commissioned an outside commercial company to help it obtain, analyse and link local labour market data to the college’s courses. A wide range of publicly available government datasets were analysed to build up a picture of current and future skills and qualifications in demand in the local area. Factors such as local growth and declining occupations and sectors, reported skills shortages, earning potential in different occupations and skills transferable to different occupations were all examined and inputted to the tool. It then worked with the college to combine this information with details on all the courses the college offers, such as what qualifications are needed to get on a course, what jobs these courses can lead to and the type and number of local employers offering these roles. The tool also highlights what university courses students will be qualified for. An LMI tool highlighting local labour market opportunities and the course required for these was produced.
The resulting LMI tool is used in a variety of ways. The college’s Careers and Employability Advisors use it to highlight to students what sectors are growing and so offer strong job prospects, and to identify a range of routes into these occupations, helping to ensure students gain the knowledge and skills valued by local employers. The tool is also available on the college’s website, enabling students to access this information themselves. Feedback from students has been positive, highlighting the usefulness of advice tailored to specific cities in Scotland and employers rather than just provision of a national overview. Additionally, the tool is used by the college in marketing itself and attracting new students, as it allows the college to demonstrate how relevant its course provision is to the needs of local industry.