Business leaders urged to join skills debate at special meeting

Business leaders across Shropshire are being urged to help tackle some of the key skills issues facing the county’s employers at a special round-table event later this month.

Mandy Thorn
Mandy Thorn

Shropshire Business Board says the Bridgnorth meeting will pull together business representatives from across the county to discuss how to shape the future of training in the region.

The May 25 breakfast meeting – which is being staged in partnership with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership – will cover key areas including apprenticeships, current training opportunities and skills shortages.

Mandy Thorn, chair of the Shropshire Business Board, said the meeting would help put businesses in the driving seat when it comes to developing future training and make sure their voices were heard over a vital issue.

“Both the business board and the Marches LEP have been working with employers to try to find out exactly what they need from training in the years ahead, and this event is a vitally important part of that process.

“We want to find out where the skills gaps are, the challenges faced by local businesses and how they view the apprenticeship system, particularly with regard to the Apprenticeship Levy.

“These discussions will feed directly into the LEP skills plan so that we can ensure everything we do is focused on helping businesses with their skills’ needs in the future.”

The meeting will include a screening of a special apprenticeship video put together by the LEP and the Marches Growth Hub, explaining just how vital apprenticeships are to the future of their businesses.

Currently only one fifth of companies in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford and Wrekin have apprenticeships, despite figures showing that each apprentice is estimated to deliver an average net gain of £1,637 a year to their employers.

A Government drive to recruit three million apprentices by 2020 is already being supported by the Marches LEP, which has secured £3million funding to develop three Advanced Manufacturing Hubs in the region, creating 2,700 apprenticeships.

The meeting – at the Marches Centre of Manufacturing and Technology (MCMT) on Stanmore Industrial Estate – will also hear from Shropshire Partners in Care chief officer Nicky Jacques on some of the training issues facing the care sector.

And Matthew Snelson, of Bridgnorth-based Grainger and Worrall, will talk about how a group of local businesses joined together to create the MCMT to support and develop apprenticeship opportunities.

To sign up for the event – which starts at 8.15am and is expected to last two hours – visit https://bit.ly/2L11S8j