Hopes and Fears for 2019: Analysis on the skills and employment market

PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:24 21 December 2018

What can be done to improve the skills sector in Norfolk?

What can be done to improve the skills sector in Norfolk?


This week we’ll be hearing from experts across the county’s industries and sectors, asking them what their hopes and fears are for their business year ahead.

We’ve already heard from the property and small business economies, and today we have analysis from the skills and employment sector.

Analysis is provided by Richard Bridgman, OBE, of Warren Services and the New Anglia LEP Skills Board:

I and many others have spent a considerable amount of time this year putting a bid in excess of £20m to the Department of Education for an Institute of Technology.

We will know early next year if we go into the final stages, and by June if we have been successful.

Both Norfolk and Suffolk will benefit from this, with a Hub in Bury St Edmunds.

This project will go a long way to help our skills needs in New Anglia for years to come, based around STEM subjects.

Another avenue we are exploring is taking people from the job centre, some with little or no qualifications and training them.

Working with Haas machine tools, DWP, West Suffolk College, and Warren Services, we have put a programme together to train four claimants to be CNC setter Operators.

The first cohort finish this week having done 12 weeks training, the main requirement is for them to have the drive to learn and the right attitude.

It has been most successful and we are already selecting the next group. We believe this type of short intensive training can be used in many other areas.

We still find many businesses keep complaining about skill shortages, but are not prepared to do anything about it, and it really frustrates me. Unless they change they will die.

So my wish for 2019 is hopefully to get the green light for the EIoT, and battle on with skill shortages with inventive ways to meet these needs.

I also want to continue to encourage young people to take apprenticeships as a good alternative to University, but still have opportunity to go on and get a degree without incurring any debt.

I refuse to look negatively, and if companies are not prepared to help themselves so be it.

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