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Date: 18/10/2017

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce hosted a lunchtime event in the House of Commons to highlight the skills shortage in Worcestershire at the heart of policy making.

Held on Tuesday 17 October, the event sponsored by Worcester, Bosch and Nigel Huddleston MP saw members from the local business community, senior leaders from the education sector and the British Chambers of Commerce came together to discuss how it was impacting their business, sector and what the solutions might be.
Skills is raised time and time again as one of the biggest issues affecting businesses across the region, which is why it features on the first page of the Chamber Manifesto 2017. The event ties in with previous activity around the manifesto including roundtable discussions in both counties with local MPs.
During the meeting, it was recognised by all parties that the relationship between the business and education sector has significantly improved in recent years. However, it was highlighted by local firms that there still needed to be more work around promoting STEM subjects and further chipping away at the negative stigma around apprenticeships within education.
Work experience was a strong theme of the discussion with calls from around the table to make work experience mandatory and for schools to be given more flexibility to arrange this as the sector is under serious pressure to perform on academic results, rather than prepared young people ready for the world of work. 
Looking ahead at the Chamber Manifesto for 2018, the Chamber will be continuing to lobby for work experience to become mandatory in the curriculum, as well as for trainee teachers who often have not experienced the world of work outside of academia.
Following the huge success of this discussion, the Chamber will be hosting a Herefordshire discussion around infrastructure in Westminster early next year.

Sophia Haywood, Policy Manager at Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“We are very thankful for Nigel and Worcester, Bosch for sponsoring our event in parliament. It was a great opportunity to hear from leading businesses and educationalists, to see what we as your local Chamber can do to bridge the gap between the two sectors. Now, we will take the opinions and suggestions from guests and turn them into actions as I formulate our Chamber Manifesto for 2018.”

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid-Worcestershire, commented:
 “I was delighted to host this lunch with Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce in Parliament. The skills shortage is a significant issue for businesses across the country but it is especially useful to be able to communicate directly with local businesses and hear how Worcestershire is being impacted. We had a lively and insightful discussion about the skills shortages local business owners have identified as well as the new and emerging skills needs that Worcestershire has and possible solutions to fill this skills gap.”