Ruth Mitchell

NECC report calls for better training to boost local economy.

The NECC Skills Policy Report has been released, and is urging the regions universities and colleges to ensure the right training is in place to boost economic growth.

After extensive consultation with businesses and providers, the North east Chamber of Commerce (NECC) compiled the report in partnership with Gateshead College and Teesside University to consider the region’s skills profile.

NECC President, John Mowbray, said: “A skilled workforce is the most critical contributor to the success and growth of a business. Put simply, businesses with skilled employees are likely to be more efficient, more productive and more sustainable.

The report showed that more investment is needed in training to support high growth industries, such as renewable energy and advance manufacturing.

In a previous report, the NECC found that 21% of respondents had encountered difficulties when recruiting skilled employees, and a futher 19% found it hard to find good quality professional employees. These figures are higher than the national average.

A failure to address this could prevent the North East from carving out a future in high growth industries, including renewable energy and manufacturing.

He continued: “Businesses must ensure they play their part in training employees to protect their competitive edge.

“This report demonstrates that they need to actively engage with training providers to ensure the workforce is equipped with the skills required for success and also that educational institutions must be open to business involvement as well as it is a two-way street.

This is something that is improving, but we need to do more.“

The report recommends that training providers and the government need to focus on four key areas; funding, education, collaboration and brokerage, to help improve skills in the region. It also encouraged employers to be more proactive and to form relationships with educational institutions to influence the curriculum.

Mick Brophy, managing director of business innovation and development at Gateshead College, said: “Getting the region’s current and future workforces trained in key skills required by business is vital for the recovery and growth of our economy and I welcome the announcement of this report.

“I’d encourage all businesses to see investment in training as a key pillar of their competitiveness.”

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