Spatial mapping of South Yorkshire highlights areas of education, skills and training deprivation

Report produced by Shivani Sickotra, a PhD student funded by the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council and SYMCA, researching the skills and education landscape of South Yorkshire.

Relative deprivation across England using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) has been widely analysed, including mapping overall deprivation within each English LAD (Rae, 2019). This geo-visualisation extends the work by Rae (2011, 2019) by mapping the spatial distribution of the IMD Education, Skills and Training (EST) sub-domain, within the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA). Analysis of the EST sub-domain is necessary to uncover hidden patterns and provide an evidence base towards shaping effective place-based education and skills policy within the SYMCA.

The SYMCA has historically suffered by being trapped in a low-skills equilibrium, with a low demand and supply of skills (Dickinson et al., 2021). From this visualisation, it is evident that there are clusters of LSOAs in SYMCA that are severely deprived within EST. Most notably there is a clear spatial divide between least deprived LSOAs in the south of Sheffield and most deprived LSOAs in the east of Sheffield. Strong clusters of most EST deprived LSOAs can be seen in the east of Barnsley and Doncaster, with Rotherham exhibiting a band of LSOAs in the upper region stemming from the most EST deprived LSOAs in Sheffield. It is these areas which indicate where SYMCA must concentrate their future local development and highlight specifically where there is a need for increased EST investment in order to close the gap between education and skills inequalities within the region.


Dickinson, P. et al., 2021. Skills Analysis Report: A report prepared for Sheffield City Region, Coventry: Warwick Institute for Employment Research.

Rae, A., 2011. Deprivation in Sheffield, Sheffield: University of Sheffield.

Rae, A., 2019. English Indices of Deprivation 2019. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 23 December 2021].

Understanding the local labour market is essential for UK Combined Authorities and Local

Enterprise Partnerships to drive regional economic growth in line with the national Levelling

Up agenda (Nurse & Skyes, 2020; Harari et al., 2021). This geo-visualisation focuses on the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) region and disaggregates employees by their occupation industry at the Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level. The visualisation is designed to provide an overview of the spatial distribution of each broad industrial group specified in the 2007 Standard Industrial Classification (ONS, 2016). Within SYMCA, the ‘Education’, ‘Business Admin & Support’ and the ‘Accommodation & Food Services’ are the most spatially distributed industry groups. In contrast, employees in the ‘Information & Communication’, ‘Financial & Insurance’ and ‘Property’ industries are very spatially concentrated and found only in a small number of LSOAs across the region.


Harari, D. et al., 2021. House of Commons Library: The Levelling Up Agenda. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 28 July 2021].

Nurse, A. & Skyes, O., 2020. Place-based vs. place blind? – Where do England’s new local industrial strategies fit in the ‘levelling up’ agenda?. Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit, 35(4), pp. 277-296.

ONS, 2016. UK SIC 2007. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 26 December 2021].


Thank you to Dr Ruth Hamilton for teaching the methods used to produce this geo-visualisation which was submitted as part of the assessment required for the TRP620 Open-Source GIS and Spatial Data Analysis module at the University of Sheffield.