Businesses pledge to boost skills across the South East Midlands

13 May 2015

Businesses from across the South East Midlands have committed to recruiting more apprentices, building closer relationships with local colleges, introducing employers to students, hosting business breakfasts and mentoring employees and students.

These were just a few of the pledges made by guests at the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) Skills Celebration Dinner, who were invited to commit to ways in which they could collectively boost skills in the area. Just a few of the companies to pledge their support were Selex, RBS, Grand Union Housing, Asda Logistics, Lieberr, Action Express, Exemplas and Metro Bank.

SEMLEP board director and Managing Director of Jeanius Consulting, Jean Winfield, attended the event at Woburn Abbey’s Sculpture Gallery and was one of over 150 guests to make a pledge at the event.

She said: “If every business is able to do something, together we can make a real difference to the opportunities for young people and the growth of our region. Along with my team I have pledged to be an apprenticeship ambassador and to share my business experience and career advice directly with young people.”

Here is a snapshot of other pledges made on the night.

I pledge to:

“Take on three apprentices within my business over the next 12 months.”

“Volunteer my time to discuss and share the benefits of apprenticeships, having been an apprentice myself.”

“Introduce 500 Milton Keynes employees to 400 Milton Keynes school students through seven minute conversions in 2015-16.”

“Work with local colleges to support pupil education.”

 “Work with local businesses to offer breakfast meetings to keep them in touch with educational developments.”

“To help organisations understand more about using social media to attract good people.”

“Provide a brokerage service between schools and businesses to promote the benefits of work experience and promote the opportunities provided by apprenticeships.”

“Offer company visits to college staff to raise awareness of up to date industry practises.”

“Act as a guest speaker on skills and employment.”

SEMLEP’s recent business survey found that over a third of South East Midlands businesses have skills gaps within their existing workforce and nearly two thirds have found it difficult to recruit.

Dr Ann Limb OBE DL, Chair of SEMLEP, said: “This event and pledges made by organisations across the South East Midlands illustrates the benefits to all growing businesses of engaging with a local college, whether it be finding new talent or upskilling staff, with product research and marketing, with the recruitment of apprentices or as a means to accessing fantastic facilities.”