This week marks the start of the second business festival for our region in as many months and this time, it’s the turn of Coventry & Warwickshire to bring together hundreds of organisations and education partners in the ‘Knowledge capital of the UK’.
Last month, I was delighted to take part in the Leicester Business Festival reinforcing the role of education and training in the strategic economic plan for 2018-23.
Building on the success of Leicester’s concept, the first ever Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival promises a fantastic collaboration between education providers, major employers and their supply chain partners across the region.
As a skills board member for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, I understand how important it is that business organisations work closely with partners in education. After all, students are keen to join the workforce after successfully completing their qualifications, and with four campuses spanning the East and West Midlands, we want to help open doors for them through solid relationships and sound advice.
The Business Festival will host events across the region on a wide variety of topics including cyber-security, how to plan for Brexit, digital skills and data protection.
Logistics giant DPD is hosting a tour of its Hinckley depot and will discuss how growth will bring one in 12 people in the UK into the logistics workforce.
Headline partner, The Manufacturing Technology Centre, is leading a session dedicated to manufacturing on 28 November with a spotlight on the automotive sector. This sector is important to us through our involvement in the development of the £9.5m MIRA Technology Institute in Nuneaton, set to offer training in skills for the global automotive industry right on our doorstep from 2018.
The Business Festival is not all about large organisations. Big businesses rely on a sophisticated supply chain and many of these are small and medium enterprises. We are hosting an event as part of the Festival on 21 November that provides advice for SMEs on how they can develop their workforce through apprenticeships.
As members of the official Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, and with apprenticeship achievement rates more than 5% above national average, we are well-placed to help SMEs make best use of the government funding that is available.
Business festivals are a fantastic way to bring organisations together and it is vital that colleges and universities take a leading role. I am keen to make sure that we are talking the same language as our employer partners, that we understand their workforce needs, and that we can confidently deliver the training to address their skills gaps. Where our relationships are strong, the region can work together effectively to improve UK productivity and meet the needs of the Government’s industrial strategy.
We look forward to welcoming local businesses to our Nuneaton campus this week and hope that the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Festival will be the first of many in the future.
Marion Plant OBE, Principal and CEO