A look back at 2018

“A lot of progress has been made in bridging the skills gap over the last twelve months and I’m proud to say that Shropshire appears to be leading the way.

Our focus has always been on making the training and skills provision employer-led, placing the emphasis on companies to shape the apprenticeships and upskilling courses that we deliver.

It is an approach that appears to be working, with a record number of young people starting their careers with us at one of our technical academies at the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology in Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury.

This is just the start. The next challenge for 2019 is to ‘engage the disengaged’, the companies who bemoan the skills gap but do very little to solve it. A big task and one that has become more vital with the onset of Brexit putting into question migrant labour and how firms can manage their staff numbers to deliver sustainable growth.

Growing our own has got to be part of the answer. As a training provider we can only do so much…we have invested in the best industry-competent trainers, we have tailored courses to deliver skills that manufacturers need and we have created world class learning spaces, spanning over 70,000 sqft.

What we can’t do on our own is fill them and that is why the next twelve months will be spent trying to get Shropshire businesses involved in some form of training or to consider apprenticeships for the first time.

This approach will be mirrored with schools, parents, young people and adults as part of a concerted campaign to change perceptions about a possible career in industry.

Manufacturing is robotics, it’s CAD/CAM systems, it’s precision CNC machines, it’s playing a role in making sure F1 cars get faster, aeroplanes are lighter, people can walk again – all played out in bright factories.

That’s the message we need to get across and we need business and education in Shropshire to to join us in getting this message out there.”

Gareth Jones, joint Managing Director of In-Comm Training