The Education & Skills Partnership provides training and development solutions, through funded commercial and apprenticeship routes


We are Ofsted ‘Good’, and have been winners of Corporate Award Training Provider of the Year for the past two years. We thought we would share some insight for South East SMEs. 

It’s been a challenging period for many businesses in the South East, but that doesn’t need to make it any less fun. Research from The Local Enterprise Partnerships and central government gives us some insight into how things have changed and how businesses have reacted in the South East:   

Technology and Digital Transformation

• The tech sector in the South East of England was growing at a rate of approximately 6% annually, contributing significantly to job creation and digital transformation efforts. 

•  Businesses were investing heavily in digital initiatives, with an estimated £1.4 billion spent on digital transformation projects across various industries. 

Remote and Hybrid Work

• Remote work adoption in the South East had surged, with approximately 55% of businesses offering remote
or hybrid work options for their employees. 

• Businesses allocated an average of 15% of their training budgets to upskilling employees in remote work technologies and best practices. 


Diversity and Inclusion

• Companies in the South East reported a 20% increase in diversity and inclusion training expenditures, reflecting a commitment to building diverse and equitable workforces. 

• Women represented 45% of the total workforce in the region, with efforts to increase representation in leadership roles. 


Skills Gaps

• An estimated 30% of businesses in the South East identified skills gaps as a significant challenge, with the most pronounced gaps observed in technology-related roles and specialised trades. 

• Training budgets allocated for skills gap mitigation increased by an average of 12% year-over-year. 


Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

• The number of reported cyberattacks in the South East has risen by 25%, prompting increased investments in cybersecurity job roles and training programs. 

• Businesses allocated, on average, 8% of their IT budgets to cyber-security training and initiatives. 


Ageing Workforce

• Approximately 35% of the South East’s workforce were over the age of 50, highlighting the importance of age-inclusive job design and training programmes. 

• Companies reported a 15% increase in offerings related to phased retirement and flexible work arrangements. 


Lifelong Learning

• Online learning and micro-credentialing platforms saw a 30% increase in enrolment in 2021, reflecting the growing emphasis on lifelong learning and upskilling. 

• Employers allocated, on average, 10% of their training budgets to support employees’ continuous skill development. 


Employee Wellbeing

• Mental health-related training programmes were offered by 60% of businesses in the South East, with an average of 5% of HR budgets allocated to employee wellbeing initiatives. 

• Ergonomic job design changes resulted in a 10% reduction in workplace-related injuries and illnesses. 


All of these issues have led to the need for your leadership teams to be more effective and capable of supporting your team to be the best they can be. If you lose your strongest team members through lack of skilled leaders, the impacts then multiply. 



On average, the cost of recruiting a middle management role in the South East of England typically ranged from £5,000 to £15,000. This cost includes expenses related to job advertising, recruitment agency fees, background checks, interviews, and
any relocation or signing bonuses offered to the selected candidate. It doesn’t consider the drop in performance / sales whilst the replacement gets up to speed. 



The recruitment process for a middle management role in the South East could take approximately six to 12 weeks. The process involves creating job descriptions, advertising the position, reviewing applications, conducting interviews, reference checks, and negotiations with the selected candidate. More specialised or senior roles might take longer due to the need for in-depth assessments and interviews. 


The CIPD survey shows 

• 45% of businesses have seen increased competition for skilled team members. 
• 33% have increased what they do to grow their own talent. 
• 30% say retention of talent is harder 
• 39% say that there is a big increase in the number of poor quality applicants. 
• 24% have increased their diversity in recruitment. 


At The Education & Skills Partnership we only do two things: 

• Improve your team members’ skills in the things that are important to the health of your business. 
• Give your team the qualifications required to do the job. 

We do these two things in partnership with you, and by using the most effective funding and delivery route.

It all starts with a conversation with one of our expert team members. Booking is easy, simply reach us on our website or use our email.

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