Summit focus will be on closing the skills gap

Posted on May 22nd, 2017

Closing the skills gap between education and the world of work will be the main thrust of a major conference next month.

Over 100 businesses are expected to take part in the East Midlands Chamber* Employment and Skills for the Future summit, at Loughborough University, on 20 June.

The summit will focus on developing the skills, including those for digital-era jobs that don’t exist yet, necessary to underpin the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which was launched earlier this year and for which consultation ended last month.

When talking to businesses across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire to gather evidence for a formal response, the Chamber found the gap between the needs of employers and those leaving education remained the single biggest concern.

The summit will bring together education providers, businesses and policy makers to discuss how business and education can work together more effectively to deliver the skills required for economic growth in the East Midlands.

Ian Bates, the Chamber’s Sector Forum and Representation Manager, said: “For many years we have been striving for closer integration between employers and education.

“The lack of skills demonstrated by young people looking for their first job is a recurrent issue for employers, but so is the paucity of available workers with enhanced and specialist skills, particularly in the engineering sector.

“With the potential scenario of not being able to recruit from a pan-European pool of trained workers once Britain has left the EU, now more than ever it is essential that young people leaving education in the UK have the skills to fill the void.

“And it’s not just basic English and maths that we’re talking about, it’s also soft skills such as communication, collaboration and problem-solving which are missing from the skills base of many education leavers.”

Building on previous years' events, the Chamber's 2017 Employment and Skills Summit will continue to deliver against the manifesto aim to ensure the best business environment possible, with a relentless drive to improve the skill set of tomorrow’s workforce, to strengthen the link between education and the world of work, thus creating an environment to improve competitiveness, innovation and productivity levels.

The event will include key note speakers, a range of exhibitors and a series of workshops.

The full agenda and workshop will include:
o“Re-imagining Education at the JCB Academy” - David Bell, Director, Chair of Governors: The JCB Academy
oProviding the skills needed to deliver large scale infrastructure projects and the role of the supply-chain – Rebecca Young, Skills and Employment Strategy Manager, HS2
oDigital Skills for a Digital Economy – Bernard Szczech, Leader of IBM’s Client Innovation Centres in the UK
oAssessing the skills needs in a post Brexit economy - Growing your own (potential impact of Brexit on skills) – using original data from the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey
oTomorrow’s Engineers – an overview of East Midlands figures compared with the national picture on skills shortages in STEM
oNational Apprenticeship Service – support available from the service
oInstitute of Engineering and Technology – iSTEM
oCascaid – 21st Century Careers.

For further information about the event and available exhibition space visit