Education and business leaders showed a shared understanding of how they need to work together to help young people raise their career aspirations and become work ready at Doncaster’s third Business Conference on 21 April. This was one of the key messages to emerge from the high profile keynote speakers and panellists discussing the town’s aspirations to become an education city.
“One of the challenges the education sector faces is the limitation of the curriculum placed on them by Government and OFSTED. The education and business sectors must come together to help develop young peoples’ core employability competences such as the ability to take risk, innovate and be resilient,” said Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber during his welcome speech to over 200 delegates. “It’s hugely important for high quality provisions on the ground like the Doncaster Skills Academy to facilitate activities that help bridge the gap between business and education but that needs to be met by a policy framework led by government that encourages and rewards education providers for engaging closely with the business community.”
A related issue is businesses’ need to access as broad a talent pool as possible but currently they don’t have a sufficient pipeline of talent entering their industries. Manufacturing, construction and rail engineering businesses regularly report that, for too long, there has been a paucity of good quality technical education in the area and that the resultant skills gaps are hindering their growth prospects. Doncaster Chamber, along with Wabtec Rail, Keepmoat Construction and other schools and businesses, have been working tirelessly to convince Government that a University Technical College is a necessary addition to Doncaster’s education landscape.
Panellist, Rachel Davies, Principal of Doncaster College said: “There is a call for us all to support young people; to give them opportunities and speak positively about them to raise their esteem – Doncaster’s young people have the same aspirations as those elsewhere and we have a duty to meet their ambitions.
The panel discussion led onto a second debate about Doncaster setting the city standard. Panellists including Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, and Greg Wright, deputy business editor of The Yorkshire Post agreed with the general business sentiment in the room that Doncaster should be proud of its many assets and act like a city rather than becoming too distracted by achieving the label and, as well as fight its corner against other larger cities, the town should interact well with Sheffield City Region partners and be a town that is outward looking in a global economy.
The conference also featured speeches from Dr Adam Marshall, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, about the benefits of being a Chamber member business including the leverage to influence government on issues such as devolution and bridging the skills gap, and Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire who encouraged delegates to be proud of Yorkshire and Doncaster as they are a good place to live, learn and do business.
For further information please visit: http://doncaster-chamber.co.uk/