From education to employment

Themis at Burnley College hosts North West Skills and Innovation Round Table

Neil Burrows, Burnley College Director of Skills and Innovation (left) addresses the CBI panel

Burnley College has welcomed business leaders from across the region to share their thoughts on skills and innovation with leaders from the Confederation of British Industry.

Regional CBI board members Damian Waters and Helen Gbormittah met with representatives from a variety of North West industries and business groups, at the event, led by Burnley College Director of Skills and Innovation Neil Burrows.

The successful event brought together leading figures from the business community with key regional stakeholders, including the North West Aerospace Alliance, East Lancashire Hospitals Trust and Burnley Council.

Neil, who joined the CBI North West Regional Council in 2022, said: “It was a real pleasure welcoming the businesses and CBI board members to Burnley College.

“Being an integral part of their discussions about the future of industry allows us to stay at the forefront of providing the best skills training to our learners.

“Showing the members our incredible facilities really helps to strengthen the connection between delivering skills to the workforce of the future and the businesses that will be led by them.

“We wanted to engage with leading employers and other stakeholders to better understand the skills needs of the local, regional, and national economy and to help set strategy aligned to education, skills training and employer needs.”

The CBI places significant focus on government policy and includes experts from varied policy areas with the goal of maximising business development for industry.

Attendee Jennifer Kay, Senior HR Business Partner at CRC Evans, said the forum was a unique business opportunity. She said: “It’s great for businesses to come together to give us a louder voice.

“We engaged in productive discussions about the apprenticeship levy, training and development and upskilling. The day has given me many ideas to take back to our business.”

Discussion topics included the Chancellor’s four pillars of economic growth: enterprise, education, employment and levelling up.

There were also valuable debates on addressing labour market shortages through skills and apprenticeships, and how to promote green skills.

The group shared insights as to how they can support Lancashire in competing for funding on the regional and national stage, ensuring a high level of successful bids to support business development.

The CBI is an influential organisation which represents 190,000 businesses, ensuring their voice is amplified across the UK. It speaks on behalf of every sector in the economy, with members of national firms and trade associations coming together with common priorities and a shared vision.

Neil added: “The college is delighted to have brought together the CBI, employers and representatives from a wide cross section of our business community.

“The discussion was robust and enlightening, an important step in bringing together the influential CBI with businesses and key organisations.

“We all share the same goal, to ensure the skills gap in the UK is bridged with the right skills training, accessible to all businesses.”

Other delegates included representatives from the Eric Wright Group, Fort Vale (world leaders in the design and manufacture of valves), The Holker Group and ELE Technologies.

The event was facilitated by Ben Whitaker, of Edufuturists.

Award-winning Themis at Burnley College is one of the North West’s leading Apprenticeship training providers, delivering expert-led training in a range of industry areas.

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