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This overview outlines the process involved in the selection of business areas for which to develop LSP workshops for inclusion as exemplars in the S-Play LSP Facilitators Handbook and for pilot testing with the 5 national workshops.


There was some discussion as to the possible sources of data to identify the business needs of SMEs in each of the partner countries.  As might be expected the data available varied greatly from country to country.  Sources identified included: large scale national data from recent surveys; current data from Chambers of Commerce and interview and survey data to be collected from SMEs and SME advisory organisations. It was agreed that the variety of data sources across partners served to enrich the data collection process rather than raise issues of homogeneity.

As such, each partner was tasked with collecting data from the most appropriate sources, to identify the ten most pertinent business areas for development in SMEs. For example, partners such as IHK a hub Vocational employment office called on their resources, records and expertise with VET practitioners to identify the most important areas in the German context. UDUR in the UK carried out discussions with SME managers and business advisory organisations to identify needs in the UK context and  USI and UITM were able to call on published research material within their own countries to identify the relevant business areas in the Swiss and Polish contexts, respectively. 

Fig 1 Shows a Word Cloud of the suggestions, after minor modifications for conformity of terminology. 

Figure 1 – Word Cloud of collated Areas for training and development across all partner countries

The suggestions from each country were collated and reviewed.  General themes were identified and broad categorisations of; Finance, Process, Product, Market and Personnel were generated. The suggestions were then assigned to each of these categories. The most popular areas in each of these categories were identified, thus producing a shortlist of business areas to be addressed in the development of the pilot workshops. These were further filtered by their suitability to the LSP method.    Table 1 shows the emergent themes for consideration for the pilot workshops, following the selection process outlined above.

Finance Process Product Market Personnel
Raising Finance Growth Strategy Innovation Capability New Markets Communication
  Quality / QA Concept to Manufacture Marketing Collateral Team Building
  Change Management   Technology Culture / Values / Identity
  Exit Strategy   Branding / Corporate Identity Project Leadership / Management