6th February 2024
Business, education and public sector organisations came together yesterday to discuss how the county’s investment in education is working to ensure the workforce of the future is equipped with the skills businesses need.
Hosted at Stafford College’s recently opened multi-million pound Skills and Innovation Centre, We Are Staffordshire invited representatives to its latest ambassador event - A place to grow: Delivering skills for the future – where attendees heard from a range of experts and officials from across the region as they discussed the importance of collaboration between businesses and education.
Welcoming and opening the event was Philip White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills at Staffordshire County Council. With a focus on skills at the heart of Staffordshire County Council’s Strategic Plan, the event marked the launch of the Staffordshire Skills Prospectus which includes further information on Staffordshire’s Employment and Skills Strategy for 2023-2033.
Louisa Shaw, Head of Marketing at We Are Staffordshire then gave an overview of the organisation and ambassador programme before Craig Hodgson, Principal and Chief Executive of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG), discussed the important role education providers have in meeting the skills agenda in Staffordshire and updated attendees on the progress of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology.
A panel discussion and Q&A session then took place chaired by Lisa Capper, MBE and Principal of Stoke-on-Trent College, NSCG’s Senior Work-based Learning Manager, Jane Tunnicliff, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Partnerships for Employment and Skills, Dan Canavan, Alton Towers HR Director, Simon Day, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, Rachael Birks and Charlotte Allen, an Apprentice with The Hex Group.
The panel discussed skills gaps, lifelong learning and the importance of upskilling workforces, future investment in education and how educators can appeal to young people and what can be done in the way of technical training.
With more than £80m currently being invested in capital projects to transform further education across Staffordshire - including the £22.5m Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology (SoTSIoT) - more high-level technical education and training across a range of STEM occupations and industries will soon be available. Led by NSCG in collaboration with key partners including Keele University, Burton & Derbyshire College and Axia Solutions and backed by key employer partners including Dell, Hitachi, MOOG, Siemens and St Modwen Logistics, the SoTSIoT will bring together industry, education and research to jointly develop education and training opportunities to meet the skills needed by employers in the local, regional and national economy.
To round off the event, guests were shown around the Skills and Innovation Centre which opened its doors to new and existing students in September 2023. Bursting with leading-edge equipment and facilities, the three-storey centre contains first class IT labs, hybrid vehicle technology facilities, state-of-the-arts construction and engineering labs, a four-court sports hall, gym and 300-seat auditorium.
As Staffordshire's leading college and one of the highest performing colleges in the country, NSCG works with more than 850 employers across the region with an aim to make an impact on the skills agenda. By ensuring employees have the right skills, you can help boost productivity and allow your business to stay agile.
To find out more about becoming an employer partner, call 01782 254287 (Newcastle) or 01785 27566 (Stafford) or click here to find out more.