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Business News President’s Focus


In his latest ‘President’s Focus’, Burton Chamber president Nik Hardy once again highlights the problems that the region is having in terms of skills shortages. He says that this is a shared problem, and businesses themselves can actually step in and do something about the situation. A good place to start is investing in education and training opportunities, as his company, Hardy Signs, has successfully done.


R


ecent figures show that our region is suffering a shortage of more than 170,000 skilled workers, costing firms £1.5bn.


This shows that now, more than ever, the value of


further education, vocational training programmes and apprenticeships is vital to the future success of business in our region. It is very important that we all go further to grow


and develop our own, local, talent. There is a wealth of support and information


available to businesses and individuals these days and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is leading the way in making these resources available across its divisions. More than 300 delegates and 50 exhibitors attended


a recent exhibition at Millennium Point in Birmingham that was hailed as hugely successful in bringing together businesses specialising in STEM sectors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Events such as this highlight the value of further


education training opportunities for businesses where many education or vocational training programmes can be tailor-made for specific business or sector needs. Some courses can be held in part or in their entirety


at your own business premises, or may involve substantial use of e-learning, while vocational courses may be taught at these or at specialist institutions. In 2016, our company teamed up with Burton and


South Derbyshire College to open the Hardy Signs’ Sign and Print academy at its campus in Burton on Trent. As the three year anniversary approaches, we are delighted with the progress so far. Learners are given the opportunity to gain hands-on


experience with the processes, the machinery and the delivery of signage and print projects – not only within the classroom environment but also at our manufacturing HQ, Hardy Place. Just recently, the Hardy Signs fitting team joined


students at the college to deliver a project on campus for the newly launched, Lego Innovation Centre. Working alongside the learners, imparting knowledge regarding the production and installation of large format digitally printed wallpaper and graphics. Having identified a skills gap and now with over the


three years since its inception, apprentices have developed their skills and I’m delighted to say we now have graduates from the academy taking full-time employment with Hardy Signs. I would encourage businesses to seek out education


and training opportunities which will offer many potential benefits to you the employer and to the employee. Your business can:


• Access training that realises the full potential of your staff while meeting your business' organisational needs;


• Use advanced training to implement your strategic plans more effectively, transfer knowledge and improve your employees’ skills base;


• Promote your business as having a learning culture and attract new staff with attractive work-related training opportunities;


10 CHAMBERLINK March 2019


‘I’m delighted to say we now have graduates from the academy taking full-time employment with Hardy Signs’


• Incentivise your staff through awards that link to a national framework and encourage progression gain accreditation for in-house programmes and enable your staff to gain credits towards higher education-level qualifications;


• Benefit from increased confidence and motivation among staff, reduced staff turnover rates and all- round better company performance.


A great place to start is your Chamber of Commerce


division – speak to a member of the team who will be able to help with the first steps. As president of Burton and District division, I am continuing to spread the word and encourage businesses to join us in reducing the skills shortage across our region.


Get latest Burton news every week


Firms in Burton can get up- to-date business news from their district every week through the Burton and District Chamber of Commerce’s news bulletin. The weekly Burton update


features news stories and pictures relating to businesses who are members of the Chamber. It is emailed to subscribers every Wednesday.


To subscribe to the weekly Burton update, visit the Latest News section of www.greaterbirminghamcha mbers.com and click the ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ tab.


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