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Lichfield & Tamworth Lichfield & Tamworth Chamber Patrons


Contact: Chris Brewerton T: 0845 6036650


College launches digital skills academy


South Staffordshire College is launching two digital skills academies as part of its ‘digital first strategy’, following funding of more than £550,000 from the Stoke-on- Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. The digital skills academies will be based


at Cannock and Tamworth and will help the local community develop skills such as networking, programming, ethical hacking, artificial intelligence, 5G and cyber security. The college claimed that within the next


20 years, 90 per cent of all jobs will require digital skills. This will mean a further 1.2 million more technically and digitally skilled people will be needed 2022. Courses will be taught through a mix of


physical delivery in college and online and will focus on revolutionising future industries, streamlining business processes, boosting productivity, and providing the community with the digital skills required to match employers current and future skills demands. Kirk Hookham, deputy CEO of South


Staffordshire College, said: “South Staffordshire College is thrilled with the capital funding from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP and will enable the college to be at the forefront of digital skills training. “Whether individuals need basic IT user


training or the most advanced coding, cyber security or internationally certificated professional qualifications they will be able to study in one of our new, state of the art Digital Skills Academies at either Cannock or Tamworth College.”


Presidency a ‘watershed moment’ for Valyou boss


By Jessica Brookes


Jason Challoner, managing director of Valyou Recruitment, will be taking over as Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber of Commerce’s president. He will be handed the presidential baton from


James Blackman, managing director of Cocoonfxmedia, who served a four-year term as president of the Chamber. James will be named as honorary president of


the Chamber, alongside Jason’s official appointment as president, during the Chamber’s annual general meeting. Jason has headed up his independent


recruitment agency, which specialises in the construction, technical and building service sectors, for seven years. The business, based in Chase Terrace Academy,


now turns over £4m a year and was crowned winner of the Lichfield and Tamworth Small Business of the Year 2020, at the Chamber’s annual awards which it hosts alongside Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce. Prior to Valyou, Jason held several senior


recruitment and sales roles, including a branch manager role supplying in excess of 500 contractors a week to sites across the West Midlands.


Alongside his work at Valyou Recruitment,


Jason serves as chairman of the South Staffs Employment & Skills Board (SSESB). He has served as executive committee member for Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber of Commerce since 2019. Jason said: “This opportunity coincides with turning 50 in September, providing a watershed


MP visits retirement scheme


Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher has paid a visit to a town centre retirement scheme to find out how residents have been coping during the pandemic. Although social distancing rules prevented a


full tour of the buildings, the residents at Shannon’s Mill were able to show off their gardens and how they have been supporting each other. The scheme was built in 1990 and provides 65


affordable-rent apartments for over-55s, a stone’s throw from Tamworth Castle. It is due to be refurbished to coincide with its


30th anniversary, and owners Midland Heart housing association have invited Mr Pincher back to meet residents again when the work is done. Midland Heart chairman, John Edwards said:


“Our residents were very much looking forward to this visit, which was full of laughter and really


38 CHAMBERLINK October 2020


brightened their day. Some of our customers who are active in the local community were already on first name terms with Mr Pincher, which was great to see.” Mr Pincher said: “It was brilliant to join


residents and the team from Midland Heart at Shannon’s Mill for a socially distanced visit in their beautiful garden. The whole team have done a great job during the Covid-19 crisis, keeping residents safe and supported.” The Midland Heart team also took the opportunity to discuss some of their priorities for affordable housing with Mr Pincher, in his capacity as housing minister. Mr Edwards said: “We very much look forward


to seeing how we can support Mr Pincher and his department to drive the delivery of much- needed affordable housing in Tamworth and the wider Midlands.”


Jason Challoner: Ready to assist with the Covid- 19 recovery


moment for my birthday and recognition for a 25 year plus recruitment career in helping people find work and employment. “Going forward, I plan to use my tenure as


president of the Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber of Commerce to continue to work closely with educators, training providers and business to assist in the recovery of the Covid-19 pandemic, develop skills and employment opportunities for the people of Lichfield & Tamworth.” Jason’s appointment as president will be


ratified at Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting, taking place ‘virtually’ on 16 October.


To book a place, visit www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/networ king-events/events-calendar


Autumn season is postponed at theatre


Lichfield’s Garrick theatre has been forced to postpone its autumn season shows in September and October, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Garrick chief executive Karen Foster said the


risks involving large touring companies were too great, and as a result, the theatre would focus on films and live event screenings for the time being. She said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been


devastating for the theatre and live entertainment industry, especially for charitable organisations like Lichfield Garrick. Lichfield Garrick generates 89 per cent of its income from ticket sales, and the ongoing loss of earned income is unsustainable. “It is with great sadness that Lichfield Garrick


theatre has been forced to make cost savings, including redundancy and short time working which impact 46 per cent of permanent roles.”


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