Skills are an essential component of economic development. They are integral to the development of a well-balanced, productive and growing economy.  This makes the successful delivery of a world class, productive workforce an even greater priority as the UK emerges from recession and faces increased global competition from other regions.  The UK needs to keep ahead of these competitors to ensure that it can play a leading role in the global economy of the future. 

Skills are not just important for the economy, of course. Skills have the potential to change people's lives, define new future directions and outcomes and drive increases in social mobility.  Not only is it therefore essential to understand the skills and competency requirements of the sectors and businesses that make up the UK economy, it is also necessary to understand how the supply of skills and training marries up to these demands.  This is an ongoing process, because the skills needs of employers are ever changing as new products and services are designed and delivered.  A high quality and responsive education and training system, both within the public and private sector.

Skills research is a core strength of TBR.  Our extensive experience and expertise in wider economic research has been exploited to create high quality, accomplished skills research solutions that support our client’s requirements for valuable evidence and knowledge. 

TBR’s skills research utilises the talents of the consultancy team to distil actionable messages for clients. We provide advanced interpretation and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data to generate insight into challenging and complex skills issues. TBR’s work therefore brings clarity to skills projects, creating enhanced understanding and knowledge, from which strategic decisions can be made.

 We help policy makers, economic development and skills professionals to tackle employment and skills challenges and to design effective strategies for addressing those needs.  Furthermore, we help our clients develop assessment and evaluation frameworks by which they can measure the impact and performance of such interventions.   We deliver sector and spatial assessments of skills demand and supply, skills development priorities, training and skills gaps, employment opportunities and local/sectoral employment and skills strategies and action plans.

TBR delivers a number of investigatory and analytical solutions to skills issues, including:


Our clients include central government departments and national skills bodies, sector skills councils and the UKCES, national improvement and development agencies, local authorities, regional agencies, further and higher education institutions, trade unions, employer bodies, third sector organisations, charities and private sector companies. 

Types of Projects

TBR delivers a number of investigatory and analytical solutions to skills issues. Examples of the broad areas of work undertaken in our skills domain are listed below;

Labour market information and intelligence

  1. Creative & Cultural Skills Creative Blueprint (see final output here)
  2. Understanding the current and future science workforce profile

Skills assessments, provision mapping & gap analysis

  1. Investigating the mental health workforce's skills issues.
  2. Providing economic and labour market information for the missing sectors not covered by SSCs.
  3. Labour market and skills investigation for the Career Guidance workforce.

Future skills needs and forecasting

  1. Investigating future skills needs for local authorities.
  2. Empirical forecasting for skills, productivity and growth across sectors.
  3. Detailed labour market and economic profiles of SSCs footprints.

'Infrastructure’ and qualifications planning 

  1. Functional and occupational maps for career guidance (see final output here)
  2. Investigation into future take up of apprenticeships
  3. Feasibility projects; understanding the local skills base and requirement for skills insititutions.


Andrew Heptinstall © 2010

Case studies

We have a number of Case Studies which are available to download (.pdf) for you to understand the work we engage in, these include:

  1. An economic and labour market study for the missing footprints, not covered by SSCs for UKCES.
  2. An investigation into adult skills in the North East for One North East.
  3. A complex and innovative approach to projecting future skills needs for East Durham Business Service.

Much of our work in our other areas of expertise can be applied to research in Skills - view our other pages to read more about our research in those areas:  EconimE




Contact us

Contact Fiona Tuck to find out more about our research and consultancy services in skills and labour markets.

Get in touch with us if you have a query or would like more information on TBR and our work.

TBR Observatory

TBR is proud of its evidence-based research. We dissect complex problems through our skills in the manipulation and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data. See how our data and data skills support our specialist expertise by clicking on know more below.


We are very proud of the first-class testimonials that we have received from clients. Click on below to read some of them.