Lesley Giles is Director of Work Advance, where she undertakes analysis and evaluation, and provides policy advice internationally, nationally and locally around labour markets and the world of work. Until recently she was Director at the Work Foundation, at Lancaster University, where she continues to work as an Associate, offering insights to drive their work programme seeking to champion Good Work.
Prior to this, Lesley was Deputy Director and Company Secretary at the Industry-led, Non-Departmental Public Body, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills , where she provided guidance on skills and employment issues to Industry and Government. In that capacity she ran a UK-wide Labour Markets and Futures Forecasting team. In addition, Lesley has worked in a variety of other roles across government including: Acting Director for Strategy and Research, and Head of Research, at the Sector Skills Development Agency; and a senior researcher for the Department for Education and Employment, the Employment Service, and the Cabinet Office. More generally Lesley has worked at the Institute for Employment studies; the University of Portsmouth’s Business School and the University of Central England. Lesley is a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, an Independent Governor at Derby University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Examples of work include:
• Nationally working for Government Lesley has led several UK-wide labour market assessments including: The Future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030; Working Futures series from 2003 to 2014 ; Ambition 2020 series ; the National Skills Audit ; City Deals and Skills ; Growth Through People and How Good is Your Business Really? The latter was a business-led review on productivity for Sir Charlie Mayfield, commissioned by HMT in 2015, working with 20 of the most senior business leaders in the UK as part of the Productivity Leadership Group. This eventually became Be the Business. Project for Be the Business include: Raising UK Competitiveness
• She has been an expert for the OECD Programme on Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED), which advises national Governments on local initiatives and action, since 2002 and a member of the OECD expert skills advisory board since 2011. Projects she has funded include: Employment and Skills Strategies in Northern Ireland; Leveraging Training and Skills Development: Analysis of the West Midlands; and Innovative Workplaces: Case of the East Midlands ; OECD Skills Strategy Initiative , and she has run various OECD studies for the UK . She has also taken part in several country Skills Missions including Australia, South Korea, Norway, Peru and Mexico.
• She has overseen various UK-wide reviews of employer leadership and employer engagement in skills which informed the development and delivery of employer-led investment funds for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. This included the review of Employer Ownership of Skills, which secured £350m from BIS in 2011 ; the UKCES skills statement and evaluations to inform the design and delivery of various funds , including the UK Futures programme, which was worth £5m
• She led the development of a common framework for LMI for the sector skills councils (SSCs) as part of the licensing of 25 SSCs for 14 years, and the associated research programme producing over 100 reports at the UKCES and 30 at the SSDA.
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