Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has been chosen to lead the development and delivery of a Local Skills Improvement Plan for the Marches area.

It comes just days after the Chamber revealed that skills shortages have become a ‘ticking timebomb’ for the local economy.

The Local Skills Improvement Plan, funded by the Department for Education, aims to put the voice of employers at the heart of the learning and skills system to build stronger partnership with further education providers.

Richard Sheehan, Shropshire Chamber chief executive, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to bring together employers, training providers and other key stakeholders at a time of great need.

“We know that the inability to recruit the right calibre of skilled staff is holding companies back, so we must ensure that post-16 technical education and training is as closely aligned as possible to the needs of local employers.

“There is lots of good work being done across the Marches region, but the idea of this project is to bring it all together into a more structured and collaborative approach.

“Our aim is to create an environment for the sharing of best practice to create the best possible outcomes for businesses and workers across all corners of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire.”

Shropshire Chamber is one of 32 accredited chambers of commerce which will lead LSIPs across the country, supported by the British Chambers of Commerce.

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the BCC, said: “The chamber network will use its convening power and deep knowledge of their local economies and communities to develop clear plans to address skills challenges faced by businesses.

“Chambers will bring together local businesses, training providers and a broad range of stakeholders to identify the skills needed to increase opportunities and enable economic growth for the benefit of everyone in the community.

“This is an opportunity for employers to shape how their current and future workforce can access the right training to thrive in the modern, more digital and greener workplace.”

This Local Skills Improvement Plan project is funded by The Department for Education and is a part of the Government’s Skills Accelerator programme.

Shropshire Chamber is currently in the process of gathering latest intelligence about the local economy through its quarterly economic survey. All businesses in the county are invited to contribute by following this link: