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Senior education figure hears from businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire

One of the UK’s most significant figures in education has been hearing from businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire about their difficulties in recruiting.

Susan Acland-Hood, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education (DfE), paid a visit to Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training (CWCT) to meet firms and apprentices to find out some of the barriers to employment before heading to Coventry College to see its Electric Battery Facility.

Susan, who oversees the day-to-day running of the DfE and reports into Gillian Keegan MP – the Secretary of State for Education, heard how businesses in the area want to expand but have hit a ‘recruitment wall’.

A roundtable session was chaired by Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and heard from businesspeople in the property, education, accountancy and events sectors, as well as from Sally Lucas who runs CWCT.

It was an opportunity to discuss what works well with apprenticeships and areas for improvement as well as identifying other barriers to recruitment.

Corin said: “National Apprenticeship Week was a fantastic time to celebrate both the employers and apprentices that keep our businesses thriving and raise awareness of benefits of this great training scheme.

“Businesses are facing so many different challenges but I’d say this is just about the number one priority that we need to get right if we are going to get the economy growing.

“To hear, once again, that businesses want to grow but can’t because they can’t find people to fill vacancies is hugely frustrating. I’ve heard it time and again in the past few months. We have to find solutions. However, to hear so many businesses who were using the Apprenticeship Scheme as a secure way to grow their future workforce was really encouraging.

“The Chamber is leading on the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for the region and we are gathering so much evidence by speaking to businesses because it’s absolutely vital that we get this right and make sure employers are at the start of the conversation rather than at the end when everything has been decided for them.

“It was great to be able to have this conversation with Susan and her team in the room and we look forward to some positive outcomes on the back of it.”

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Pictured (left to right): Corin Crane, Susan Acland-Hood, Sally Lucas

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