College Principal impressed by employers’ commitment to upskilling workforce

Preston’s College principal and chief executive, Dr Lis Smith, says Lancashire employers are demonstrating a clear commitment to upskilling the county’s workforce.  

This comes following a visit to eight Lancashire employers as part of the BIBAs on Tour judging panel for the prestigious ‘Employer of the Year Award’, which Preston’s College sponsor.

For over five years the College has sponsored categories at the ‘Be Inspired Business Awards’, whose award ceremony will take place at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom on 14th September.

The judging panel, also including representatives from Hays, Forbes Solicitors and BLM, visited businesses based between Morecambe and Accrington that operate across a range of sectors from manufacturing to health & social care.

Lis Smith, principal & chief executive at Preston’s College, said: “The companies that we visited as part of the ‘BIBAs on Tour’ demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their workforce, ensuring staff have the correct knowledge, skills and qualifications suitable for their role.

“Equally, one of our key priorities is to ensure Lancashire’s existing workforce has the practical skills and qualifications to meet the labour market demand in key priority sectors.

“This is achieved through aligning education and industry to ensure training has been designed alongside employer partners and aligns with modern day skill needs.”

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has already identified that Lancashire has a growing skills gap, particularly in relation to higher skills.

Its findings indicate that there isn’t a pipeline of young people in Lancashire with higher level skills and qualifications to meet industry demand. As such, employers must look towards upskill their existing workforce to futureproof their business over the next decade.

Lis added: “Our higher level skills offering continues to grow and evolve to reflect local requirements and LEP priorities, whether in degree based or professional qualifications delivered through both the classroom and higher Apprenticeship learning.

“Working with employers means provision, in most cases, can be tailored around the needs of a business to ensure staff are progressing in the workplace with minimal impact to the organisation.

“Today, employees want a business which is going to develop them personally and offer a great work environment.

“It’s pleasing to see that the BIBA’s finalists are advocates for training and wider employer engagement and hopefully this ethos can be replicated across wider business community.”

The BIBAs will announce the winners to 18 prize categories, including the Manufacturer of the Year, Construction Business of the Year, Business of the Year and Family Business of the Year amongst others.

The winners of each category have been selected following a month-long round of judging, known as The BIBAs on Tour, which saw its judging panels visit each of the finalists ahead of selecting their winners.

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Closing Date: 27th March 2020