More than 100 people from Warwickshire’s business and education communities, including the headteacher of ATLP’s the Coleshill School, came together at Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC’s) annual skills conference on 6 March.
Coleshill’s Ian Smith-Childs (main photograph, pictured far right, alongside Darin Tudor, Neil Coker and Cllr Peter Butlin) joined representatives from the worlds of business and education discussed ways higher level skills can help drive the region’s economic growth.
During the breakfast conference at Stoneleigh Park, delegates heard from Monica Fogarty, chief executive, WCC, who outlined the priorities of the new all-age careers strategy which the council is currently developing. David Ayton-Hill, economy & skills group manager, WCC, gave delegates plenty of key data and information to consider about the county’s skills picture now and in the future.
At the event, cllr Peter Butlin, deputy leader of Warwickshire County Council announced an innovative Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Programme for small businesses. Delegates also heard an interesting summary from professor Pat Tissington, academic director of employability and skills, University of Warwick, of how employers can access the graduate talent pool, while Neil Coker, director of Warwickshire College, Rugby, provided insights into further education colleges can help.
Ian Smith-Childs gave an overview of the range of exciting skills initiatives being undertaken at the Coleshill School. He said:
The County Council Skills Conference is an invaluable opportunity for schools and businesses to network and I would encourage all schools to get involved. Every year my school has benefited from a project or business connection that started at the conference.”
Lively discussion took place round the tables, coming up with a number of ideas of how WCC, businesses and education providers can help businesses tackle skills shortages and gaps. Several delegates stressed the importance of identifying and communicating changing future skills needs as soon as possible to enable providers to respond by aligning their provision. The county council is going to explore ways of doing this.
Cllr Colin Hayfield, county council portfolio holder for education and learning, said:
What an excellent conference. It’s great to see so many partners from the worlds of business and education coming together to help shape our skills activity for years to come. At the county council we are working hard, with our partners, to ensure that all our young people – whatever their skills and abilities – are able to gain the skills they need to obtain worthwhile and fulfilling jobs now and in the future.”
The Skills Conference is a key element of Warwickshire County Council’s £3 million Skills for Employment programme which has funded more than 40,000 careers and employability activities in more than 600 local businesses during the last four years.
Any businesses interested in linking with a local school or college, or for further information on the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer, can call 01926 418027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org