Businesses invited to panel discussion to talk about skills gaps

Businesses invited to panel discussion to talk about skills gaps


As part of the Black Country Business Festival, Walsall College are inviting local businesses to attend its Skills Summit panel discussion on Monday 30th April to discuss the skills gaps both within their organisation and across the region.

The event, which includes an expert panel, will take place at Walsall College’s Business and Sports Hub between 4pm – 6pm.

The aim of the panel discussion is for local business to network and share where their organisations have experienced skills gaps. Delegates will be given the chance to influence the direction of the skills agenda and find solutions to recruitment challenges.

During the event, Walsall College will share results from their independently commissioned report on local labour market workforce, which also reveals predictions for key growth occupations.

The Skills Summit is also an opportunity for local businesses to hear from those who have successfully identified and mitigated skills gaps in their businesses, and how organisations are using the apprenticeship levy.

Headed by James Norris, the College’s Assistant Principal, the expert panel includes a wide range of apprentice recruitment professionals from a local organisations that have been significant business growth through apprenticeships.

The panel composed of Mark Stone (Apprentice Recruitment and CSR Manager at Perkins Engine), Helena Baxter (Project Officer for Walsall Council’s Apprenticeship Programme) and Rachel Andrew (Head of Learning and Development at Dudley Group of Hospitals)

Laura Myatt, a former Walsall College student who is now an apprentice engineer at Perkins Engines, will also join the panel to talk about how an apprenticeship has helped her start a career in a field she is passionate about.

Business of all sizes can attend the event, and will be of benefit to those with responsibility for training, such as financial director and training managers.

James Norris, Walsall College’s Assistant Principal in Commercial Development, said: “In the Black Country, 66 per cent of employers report that they have skills shortages, indicating that technical, practical and job specific skills are an issue with skilled trades the most difficult vacancies to fill.

The Skills Summit is a great opportunity for local businesses to work together to address the skills gap across the West Midlands, and discuss the benefits of apprenticeships.

Responding to employer needs is one of our highest priorities here at Walsall College. The event is a chance for us to listen to employers about what they require from the next generation of workers. This will feed into our curriculum to ensure that students are equipped with the skills to not only build a successful future for themselves, but to also drive prosperity for West Midlands area.

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