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Northumberland College launches Employment and Skills Forum

Northumberland College launches Employment and Skills Forum  
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More than 60 organisations today joined Northumberland College at the launch of its Employment and Skills Forum at the college’s Kirkley Hall Campus in Ponteland.

The college has developed the forum in response to an announcement from the Government's Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) department that came in July and said the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) is to become one of three regional pilots that will see significant funds for skills allocated to LEPs with the aim of fostering greater relations between private and public sector employers and education and training providers.

Lord Curry, keynote speaker and influential rural business leader said: "It is critical that we build momentum around the economy here in the North East and forums like this can play an important part in encouraging key players to work together."

The forum's launch also follows the NELEP's independent review of the North East published in April and led by Lord Adonis, former Secretary of State for Transport and Minister for Schools. This review praised the creation of the Combined Authority that sees the seven local authorities in the region collaborating to tackle key issues.

The forum welcomes members from the business community and education and training organisations and it is hoped sub groups with specialism in particular sectors will become established to develop new and innovative ways of working.

Today's launch event was chaired by Jacqui Henderson - Chair of Governors at the college and included speeches from Steve Stewart, Chief Executive of Northumberland County Council who delivered Northumberland's skills strategy and Andrew Hodgson of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership who outlined regional skills priorities.

Stuart Cutforth, Principal and Chief Executive at Northumberland College, said: "As a college we are mindful of local labour markets when we create our curriculum programmes. And we share the aims of the NELEP review, which include achieving more jobs for the people of the region, increasing Apprenticeship opportunities and the proportion of people going into higher education.

"We want our students to succeed and develop in sustained employment. This forum aims to benefit our students and the local economy by matching training provision with local skills needs."

Northumberland College is the largest training provider in Northumberland, offers over 40 flexible Apprenticeship frameworks and works with over 700 businesses across the North East.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Northumberland College Employment and Skills Forum or who would like to become a member should visit www.northumberland.ac.uk