Monday, May 23, 2016

News: Over 250 attend inaugural Skills Summit

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More than 250 businesses attended the Sheffield City Region's first official Summit.

Businesses that took part in the Skills Summit listened to high profile speakers discuss how taking on an apprentice can help their business, the wide range of support available to businesses and some of the real skills success stories in the Sheffield City Region.

Held last week at Rotherham United's £20m New York Stadium, keynote speakers were Nick Boles MP, Minister of State for Skills, and Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP.

Skills Minister Nick Boles described how the summit showed the seriousness of the region in taking control of the issue of skills, showing commitment and enthusiasm to increasing productivity.

He said: "Skilled people are the lifeblood of a strong economy. That's why we are working in partnership with employers to ensure young people have the skills businesses need to grow and compete. The Sheffield City Region's economy was built by small businesses. Events like the Skills Summit offer businesses the opportunity to work with the City Region to ensure that any investment meets the real needs of the business community."

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Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP, added: "The Sheffield City Region provides a straight-forward and reliable business environment with a sensible regulatory system that champions innovation and creativity. This business-minded culture comes from our track record of working together to grow our businesses and the local economy, and to make the region an even better place to live. In order to capitalise on this innovation we need to continually invest in the development of skills at all levels of the workforce, from apprentices to senior managers. The Skills Summit enabled businesses to discover how we intend to achieve this goal and ensure that the city region realises its ambitious targets."

The former global co-chairman of law firm, DLA Piper added that businesses investing in skills is just the same as investing in new technology in that skilled staff are a source of competitive advantage.

The event also saw the official launch of the SCR Skills Bank - the £17m fund which will be used to upskill employees.

Nigel Brewster, vice chair of the LEP, discussed the Skills Bank which is based on business feedback on provision which needed simplifying. The provision is complimentary and a test of how to link skills to business growth.

"The Skills Bank is unashamedly about co-investment and unashamedly about growth," said Brewster. "Businesses wanting to use the fund will need to show how it will help them grow. The extent of matched funding will vary for each skills deal depending on the GVA [Gross Value Added] potential."

SCR Skills Bank website

Images: SCR LEP

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