News - 03 March 2014

High Profile Speakers Set For Regional Skills Conference

Senior representatives from Government, Ofsted, the National Careers Council, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the East Midlands business community are among the headline speakers at a major regional skills conference in April.

The East Midlands Business and Skills Conference takes place at Rolls-Royce plc, in Derby, on 4 April, and will provide the opportunity to discuss and debate the skills gap and how it can be addressed.

It is being organised and delivered by the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Chambers of Commerce Group (DNLCC), with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) a headline sponsor.

National Apprenticeship Week – a NAS initiative to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy – launched today.   

Local businesses are frequently identifying a gap between the skills they are looking for in their workforce and the attributes of those looking to enter or return to the job market, as a barrier to growth.

As the region’s economy continues its recovery, the event will provide a platform for the business community and those in education to ensure that a commitment is made to bridge that gap.

The day features a series of high-profile speakers and panel discussions allowing delegates to engage meaningfully with those presenting and each other. The speakers include:

  • Rachel Sandby-Thomas, Director General of Enterprise and Skills for the Government departments of Innovation and Skills and Education
  • Matthew Coffey, Director of Further Education and Skills at Ofsted
  • Michael Davis, Chief Executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES)
  • Dr Deidre Hughes OBE, Chair of the National Careers Council
  • Graham Schuhmacher MBE, Learning and Training Lead, Rolls-Royce plc
  • Andy Cliffe, Managing Director, East Midlands Airport (Manchester Airport Group)
  • Roger Cutsforth, Managing Director, This is Global

Representatives from the East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships, British Chambers of Commerce, businesses and education providers

It will enable attendees to find out more about the current thinking behind the development of national skills policy, learn about national and local activity to promote better skills for business, gain an understanding of skills development opportunities via Local Enterprise Partnerships and hear the Chamber’s plans for supporting its members on this agenda.

Chris Hobson, Head of Information and Representation at DNLCC, said: “As the economy returns to growth, businesses are telling us they are still struggling to recruit people with suitable skills – whether it’s trying to find a candidate for a specialist role or sometimes just someone with the right attitude and approach to get on in the workplace.

“This conference is all about bringing businesses, the education sector, national policymakers and influencers together and working to identify the solutions to how this skills gap can be bridged.

“It will also provide a real opportunity to engage with skills providers and those who can influence the delivery of training provision in the region, to ensure it matches and reflects the needs of local business.”

Tickets to the event cost £50+VAT for Chamber members and £75+VAT for non-members and can be booked online at

Source: DNLCC

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