Shaping the skills agenda for the workforce of tomorrow

Winchester City Council's first ever skills conference - held last week at the Wessex Centre at Sparsholt College - has been hailed a great success

More than 60 people attended the event, entitled 'Investing in Tomorrow's Workforce Today'.  Local business leaders and education and training providers discussed local skills needs for the future, and discussed ways of meeting those needs.

Leader of Winchester City Council and portfolio holder for economy and tourism, Cllr George Beckett, introduced the morning conference.

Speaking afterwards he said: "The event was a real insight into the needs of local businesses, and the    agenda set for education and training providers.

"Winchester City Council is proud to have established the first of these events in the area. I feel sure that we will pursue this subject further in the future."

The conference was chaired by Robert Hillier, and speakers included John Cartwright of IBM UK Ltd, Jacqui Wells of Stannah Stairlifts Ltd, John Rees-Evans from Hampshire County Council and Angela Wright from Solent Skill Quest.

A round-table session explored key issues and considered practical actions to be taken both by employers and education bodies to bridge the gaps. The issue of providing training in the right subjects to the right level was discussed, in order to meet the needs of local employers.

This was a lively session during which delegates made individual commitments to pursue after the event, ranging from creating workplace experiences for teachers to gaining industry input into the development of new-style diploma qualifications. 

The event was run in conjunction with Solent Skill Quest, the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Local Skills for Productivity Alliance, Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council.

The skills conference is part of Winchester City Council's ongoing programme of activities designed to support and develop the local economy.

Further information can be found by logging on to or calling economic development officer Kate Crawford on 01962 848 563.

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