Business leaders held a summit with colleges, universities and training providers last week to forge a new partnership on skills across Leeds City Region backed by the local enterprise partnership (LEP).
Led by BT’s John Anderson, chair of the LEP’s Employment & Skills Board, employers expressed a strong desire to focus skills investment more closely on the needs of the economy.
Stephen Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer of CPPGroup which employs one thousand people in York, said:
“It can be frustrating as a business looking to expand, when you can’t find people with the right skills. We recognise the need for businesses to invest more in skills and it would be great if we could inspire better informed choices amongst young people so they can prepare themselves with the right skills for the jobs available.”
Colleges, universities and other skills organisations responded positively with a proposal to work together as a new Leeds City Region Skills Network. John Anderson welcomed this move and offered the skills providers a direct link into the new LEP through its Employment & Skills Board, which hosted last week’s event along with the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges.
Speaking on behalf of the colleges and skills providers, Michele Sutton, OBE, Principal of Bradford College and the new Network Chair said:
“We welcome the opportunity of working directly with the Employment and Skills Board. Institutions and training organisations in the partnership have a wealth of knowledge and experience of working with employers which could be used to inform the future skills strategy of Leeds City Region’’.
Neil McLean, DLA Piper and chair of the LEP, said:
“Skills are an absolute priority for the LEP. If we don’t focus on the skills we need to support our growth industries, our regional economy will decline”.
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