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21 October 2016

Head of Careers & Enterprise Company Claudia Harris heads up the region’s first Skills Seminar

The region's first small business skills seminar was held by The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire on Friday (14 October).

The event brought together small businesses and teachers from throughout the region to help improve the way that young people are prepared for the workplace and to find ways to ensure they have the skills needed to flourish and for the local economy to prosper.

Claudia Harris, CEO of the Careers & Enterprise Company, was joined by Graham Buck, Regional Chairman for the FSB, Eamonn Keenan head of CPD and short courses for the University of Bedfordshire, Sam Baker, Head of Business & Education Partnerships at Mark Rutherford School and Rt Hon Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden.

The event, at the Putteridge Bury Conference Centre was hosted by Bedfordshire branch chairman Ian Cording who said: "Our members tell us that they are not always able to find the skills they need from among our young people and we believe that this is a problem that the FSB needs to address in partnership with local educational establishments. This seminar was a great start. As well as the variety of key speakers, we had groups of businesses and teachers working together to come up with solutions to these issues."

Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, explained the reasons why the Company was set up. She talked about how they manage a network of more than 1,000 Enterprise Advisers across the country who work with local schools and use their influence and expertise to improve employability and skills through employer engagement, careers advice and providing access to local business networks.

Ms Harris said: "We need to get more young people engaging with the workplace, experiencing the world of work before they leave school and making sure they have access to the correct advice and information about their future career paths. Our network of Enterprise Advisers has been set up to ensure that young people have this support so they can succeed in today's fast changing jobs market."

There were a number of other workshops in which educators and businesses explored topics such as opportunities in small businesses, skills, apprenticeships and work experience.

University Project manager Paula Page said: "I have received tremendously positive feedback already from the attendees about how useful the seminar was and we look forward to building on the outcomes at a similar event next year."

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