Working on behalf of the East of England Rural Forum (EERF), the Learning and Skills sub group brings together a range of rural skills and interests from the public, private and voluntary sectors to act as an expert body on rural skills issues in the region. In 2007 on behalf of EERF it extended its remit so that it covers a wider range of rural economic issues.
Through meetings with funding bodies, business people, community representatives and researchers, it ensures that the specific needs of rural communities and businesses are clearly articulated in the regional planning of skills and economic development provision. It also seeks to identify and promote examples of best practice across the region, and works closely with projects such as the current Rural Development Programme for England sponsored Landskills East project to ensure lessons are learnt about how best to deliver skills in rural areas
It also carries out the functions of rural proofing, advocacy and dissemination of best practice. In 2008 this included working with EEDA to review the barriers to increasing skills participation in rural areas in the East of England, and publishing a report (Summary / Final) on ways in which new approaches to delivery may help to alleviate the problems experienced.
The Group have inputted and developed Position Papers on Rural Learning and Skills and contributed to papers on Rural Growth and Inward Investment. In 2006 the sub group held a conference jointly with East Midlands RAF, “Regenerating Rural Communities by Focusing on Skills”.