Peterborough businesses come together to realise skills vision

PETERBOROUGH companies have met with educators and skills providers to shape the skills vision for the city. The first Peterborough Skills Summit took place at the Marriott Hotel on November 30 and was attended by more than 120 delegates, despite difficult travelling conditions. Neil Darwin, pictured left, director of economic development at Opportunity Peterborough, was delighted with the response to the day. He said, “Businesses have now started to influence how skills development providers deliver support. This will ensure our young people have the right skills to support business needs as we grow the economy. Twenty companies have already signed up to the Skills Vision and we’ll be looking to grow that over the next few weeks.” The conference’s opening address was made by Marco Cereste, leader of the city council. Mr Cereste reminded delegates of the days when young people in the city actively sought vocational training and apprenticeships and why skills training is even more important to the city today. Neil Darwin talked about the challenges facing the city and how it can best address the ‘skills gap’. Iain Crighton, chairman of the Adult Skills Partnership and the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, took the podium to the theme from Star Trek, “boldy going where no city has gone before – ten years into the future” and presented his vision for skills in Peterborough for 2020. Teresa Logan from the National Apprenticeship Service explained the value of apprentices and told businesses how to get involved. She also launched the ‘100 in 100’ initiative, which challenges Peterborough businesses to take on 100 apprentices in 100 days. The campaign starts in January. Mark Mabey, executive director at University Centre Peterborough, brought the conference up to date on activities and student numbers in the city and spoke about the drive to attract overseas students to the city. Business Link adviser Colin Grant presented some of the grant and funding opportunities available to companies for training and skills development. Following a coffee break, delegates took part in group workshop activities, feeding back their findings to the conference. For more information about the Peterborough Skills vision, see: