Businesses across Lancashire must play an even greater role in inspiring young people in to work, according to one of the county’s top education leaders.
Dr Lis Smith, principal at Preston’s College, said that providing opportunities for youngsters would generate new jobs and boost the economy of the North.
A report by The Northern Powerhouse Partnership called on more employers to offer work experience which it said would give at least 900,000 young people experience of the world of work.
Preston’s College is sponsoring the Employer of the Year category at one of Lancashire’s leading business awards, the Be Inspired Business Awards, which is now open for applications.
Dr Smith said: “Education and skills are at the heart of making the Northern Powerhouse a success and will only succeed if all parties work together.
“At Preston’s College, we work every day alongside businesses in Lancashire who want to make a difference and inspire young people to get the skills our economy requires, but there are many more businesses who we could work with.
“Providing good quality work experience will also then help all businesses when they do take on young people, whether in the fast growing area of apprenticeships, straight into jobs, or as graduates, as those young people will have a much better grasp of what it really means to be in work when they do start.”
The NPPP report, titled Educating the North, estimates creating a skilled workforce, coupled with increased Government investment, would allow 850,000 extra jobs to be created and generate an additional £100bn for the UK economy by 2050.
It says that if companies of all sizes worked with the same number of young people as they have Northern employees, there would be at least 900,000 young people receiving experience of the world of work.
This would help the Northern Powerhouse train, retain and upskill its own workforce, the report says.
The Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, has 18 awards categories up for grabs this year, including new categories recognising engineering and transport and distribution businesses in Lancashire.
The deadline for applications closes on April 6 with the first round of interviews getting underway on May 14.
In 2017, the lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, was awarded to Simon Rigby, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur behind the renaissance of Preston’s Guild Hall complex.
Best Lancashire pub The Wayfarer was the winner of the Family Business of the Year while the Business Person of the Year prize went to Ashley Hackett, of the Blackpool FC Community Trust