Shropshire Star

Support offered to Shropshire businesses to help boost skills

Invest Telford launched its Skills for Growth initiative at a packed event which revealed new funding for skills, training and apprenticeships.

Telford Skills Support speakers: From left, Graham Wynn OBE, Chair of Telford’s UKSPF Panel, Smash Life’s Andy Smith, Shropshire Chamber’s Matthew Lowe, Telford College CEO Janet Stephens, Katherine Kynaston, of Telford & Wrekin Council and Harper Adam’s Parmit Chima.

The Skills Support Showcase was attended by around 80 people keen to hear about the raft of measures being introduced to address challenges facing employers looking to recruit, retain and train their workforce.

Around £1m of funding will be available to employers with Telford & Wrekin Council also introducing an Apprenticeship Levy Transfer scheme to cover the employer cost of an apprentice being taken on by a business or community interest company.

Michael Harte, MD of Bridge Cheese with event host Amy Bould, MD of Be Bold Media

Emma Williams, HR Manager, of Halesfield-based Hyve Solutions, welcomed the additional support, adding: "Knowing that we can use the apprenticeship levy to help upskill our existing workforce has now opened doors to multiple training solutions to help us invest in our people even more."

Katherine Kynaston, Director of Housing, Economy and Infrastructure told the event held at the New Bucks Head, that as well as direct assistance to businesses, the authority’s investment in Station Quarter was key to meeting the skills challenge in the borough.

Katherine Kynaston, of Telford & Wrekin Council.

“Our partnership with Telford College and Harper Adams University will see a new Digital Skills and Enterprise Hub created in the heart of Telford – opening even more doors to businesses keen to recruit, train and upskill local people,” she said.

The event heard from Shropshire Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Business, Matthew Lowe, on ongoing work to research skills needs in the region as part of the Government’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) initiative.

And Invest Telford’s Skills Specialist Louise Harding invited businesses to learn more about the council’s Job Box scheme and Work Local programme, which introduces Telford’s businesses into the borough’s communities.

Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Visitor Economy, said: “This event was a great chance to bring together businesses, training providers, further and higher education partners, all together in one place.

“We are all aware of the challenges which exist and our Skills Support Showcase was an opportunity to engage directly with employers about how we can help them, including through our Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme and UK Shared Prosperity Fund projects.”

Andy Smith, of Smash Life

Graham Wynn OBE, Chairman of the borough’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund Panel, opened the event which also heard from Andy Smith, founder of award-winning business Smash Life. Andy uses his life in the care system and success as an entrepreneur to deliver motivational business advice and training.

The event – part of the Thrive Telford business support programme, was funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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