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Businesses need to engage with young people to prevent future skills shortage

Northamptonshire is fortunate to have a wealth of vibrant industries which form the backbone of the local economy.

From engineering, leather, shoemaking to motorsport, logistics and food and drink as well as IT, companies in these sectors all contribute to putting Northamptonshire on the map, not just nationally but help transform Northamptonshire into a global brand.

In light of this, it is essential we ensure our businesses are always moving forward and have access to opportunities to grow and develop. However increased competition and a shortage of skills can hamper firms’ ability to thrive.

‘I believe it is crucial to build stronger partnerships between education and business leaders’

And here I return to the issue of preparing our young people with the relevant technical and employability skills.

The British Chambers of Commerce’s(BCC) Business Manifesto: A Business Plan for Britain, highlights the importance of nurturing the business leaders of tomorrow and ensuring there is a smooth transition from school to the work as one of seven key strands in helping the nation fulfil its true economic potential.

I believe it is crucial to build stronger partnerships between education and business leaders. To meet the challenges facing the UK logistics sector, our Business Alliance Group partner, Northampton College is already collaborating with Career Ready, a national charity that links business with education to prepare young people for the world of work. The college is holding a launch event on Tuesday 16 June from 8am to 10am at Booth Lane, where it will be joined by industry speakers to discuss their involvement in the programme.

‘The Chamber has to practice what it preaches too and that means engaging itself with local education providers’

The Chamber has to practice what it preaches too and that means engaging itself with local education providers and inspiring young people into career opportunities.

Our international trade team regularly takes part in meetings with Northampton Business School’s international business students at the University of Northampton. The Chamber also endorses the Laureate Programme run by Northampton High School, where on leaving the sixth form, students have to demonstrate academic independence, intellectual creativity and leadership ability. Students are recognised by the award of at least one of five Laureates, which is presented by the Chamber’s head of operations Tracey Branson in a ceremony. As well as this, I, for the past three years have judged the high school’s sixthform enterprise competition.

We’re confident that as part of the local business community, we can bridge the gap between the world of work and education and opportunities within the Chamber membership will enable employers to spark some long lasting relationships with education and training providers.

So let’s prepare today’s young people for tomorrow’s workforce.

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