The chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) has been on a fact-finding mission to find out more about the skills needs of the area.
Jonathan Browning was taken on a tour of Midland Group Training Services (MGTS) in Gulson Road, Stoke, Coventry, by chief executive Lee Weatherly.
MGTS provides apprenticeships, training, education and assessments to thousands of young people and adults each year in the engineering, automotive and food and drink industries including UK-wide national companies such as Britvic, McCain and Heineken.
Jonathan was invited to see MGTS’s training and education centre where the next generation of workers are learning new skills.
“Skills is an important part of the CWLEP agenda and there is a need to train and recruit workers in a number of highly skilled sectors to benefit businesses throughout the area,” he said.
“Academic qualifications are important but so are practical, vocational qualifications and it is important school-leavers and their parents are aware of the value and opportunities available by serving an apprenticeship.
“Coventry and Warwickshire has a long tradition of manufacturing top-quality products and this is a really skills-driven part of the country.
“We need to continue to build on that to ensure the next generation learn the skills which will help them to flourish and build a great career.
“With our heritage, two fantastic universities and being a world-leader in automotive manufacturing and engineering, we are in a strong position to further improve skills.
“There is also a creative element such as the digital gaming cluster in Warwickshire and at the LEP we are very much focused on ensuring there is a strong skills and knowledge base in the future since that will lead to more jobs and an improved economy.
“It was a really interesting visit to MGTS and it was good to see all the different skills which are being taught.”
Lee, who is also a member of the CWLEP’s Skills Business Group, said MGTS provides the education, training and assessment programmes which meet the needs of employers both in the future and now.
He said: “The LEP has an important role to play in driving skills forward and it was great to meet Jonathan and show him round our premises.
“I consider Coventry and Warwickshire to be hugely influential in providing skilled workforces for SMEs and global companies particularly in the supply chains of the automotive sector.
“Coventry has always been renowned as an artisan city but it is vital to spread skills in a variety of sectors which is achievable in this area because of the great mix of businesses that we have.”