Employees are the key to regeneration was the message from Barbara Spicer, interim chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency, as she addressed members of leading lobby group and networking club Downtown Lancashire in Business on Wednesday 30th April 2014.
Spicer, who took up her new post in November 2013 after an eight year tenure at Salford Council and oversees a budget of £4.5bn.
During the ‘In Conversation With’ event with Downtown in Business, Spicer talked openly with Downtown chief executive Frank McKenna, about how employers, parents and education establishments need to inform young people of the different training options available and the proposed changes to the way that funding for Apprenticeships is claimed.
“I want to work with the business to continue to focus directly on the current needs of employers, the skills that the UK will need in the future and how we connect our individual learners to those needs,” said Spicer.
“We know that employers want young people to be ‘work ready’, but we need to make sure that parents, schools and colleges are being open about the pathways that are available, especially work-based learning, which is a viable option for those who prefer a more technical way of learning.
“Regeneration can only be achieved through people and I’m keen to ensure we have the most fit for purpose system to help our economy grow, that’s why events like these are so important and a good way to find out exactly what businesses want and need from my organisation.”
Frank McKenna added: “Businesses keep telling me that there is a skills shortage and there needs to be more joined up approach between schools, colleges, universities and employers so that everyone gets what they want and need.
“Rather than focusing so much on league tables, we should all be working together to devise bespoke education pathways which will help to get the best out of an individual and deliver the skilled workforce of the future.”