From education to employment

Action for Business Takes Skills Battle Forward in South East

Business leaders joined representatives of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and staff at Highbury College in Portsmouth last week, to celebrate the inaugural Governors” Dinner and the award of Action for Business College status.

Highbury is the first further education college in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to achieve this accolade for excellence for its work with the business community. An LSC kitemark, the Action for Business accreditation indicates that the College provides services that are responsive to the needs of local employers. All aspects of the college’s links with the business community are examined, meaning local employers can be certain that the winners are providing services and training focussed on their needs.


Staff at Highbury College had to demonstrate their commitment, capacity and ability to deliver courses tailored to the training and development requirements of businesses, in order to win through the tough assessment process. Highbury is the seventh college in the Southeast to win Action for Business status.

Principal and Chief Executive of Highbury College, Stella Mbubaegbu commented on the award: “We have worked hard, and pride ourselves on the excellent service we provide for employers. We want to be the first choice for training in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire for companies of all sizes and sectors.”

A Strong Guestlist

Guests at the dinner, held in the Colleges Lord Romsey Restaurant, included Sarah McCarthy-Fry, MP, Chairman of Business Link Wessex Robert Hillier, and Professor John Craven, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth. In addition, employers utilizing Highbury’s services to train their workforce were also invited to join the celebrations. The award was presented by David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce. He praised Highbury for addressing skills shortages in key areas through its development of strong relationships with the business community.

Hilary Chadwick, Executive Director of the Learning and Skills Council, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight commented that the College has proved its commitment to working with employers in Portsmouth and Southeast Hampshire to improve workforce skills through high quality training. “College staff have an excellent understanding of the needs of local businesses and go the extra mile to make sure they are satisfied,” she added.

As local communities and their constituent businesses face growing threats from the massive multi-nation corporations, such awards are becoming more important than ever in their nurturing of community bonds. Encouraging skills providers to work within their local communities enhances the services provided by local businesses, increases their worth to local customers, and fosters community values themselves.

Michelle Price

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