Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the Government’s new ‘Skills for Jobs’ white paper for putting the needs of businesses at the heart of further education.

Richard Sheehan, Shropshire Chamber’s chief executive, said: “We are acutely aware of the important role which our county’s further education centres play in shaping the skills agenda for current needs.

“And any Government initiatives which put the skills needs of businesses at the heart of the further education system can only be celebrated as a hugely positive move.”

The white paper sets out plans to simplify and streamline the complex FE funding system, and proposes a greater role for employer groups such as Shropshire Chamber to help shape the courses on offer.

It suggests that employers should have a central role in designing the majority of technical courses by 2030.

Mr Sheehan said: “As we look to rebuild businesses and communities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is essential to ensure that the right skills and training provision is in place to support growth.

“We can play a leading role in developing local skills plans that reflect the needs of Shropshire employers.

“We already have close working relationships with our further education colleges and training providers, and are committed to working as closely as possible with them for the good of the Shropshire economy.

“Working together, we can increase the focus on skills for the workplace - the digital, technical and broader skills that help businesses grow, succeed and create good jobs.”

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “We look forward to working with the Department for Education, training providers, businesses and other stakeholders across the FE sector to further develop these proposals.”