Annual Skills Conference: How can higher level skills help drive economic growth?

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Wednesday, 6 March, 2019 - 07:30 to 10:00

Annual Skills Conference: How can higher level skills help drive economic growth?


Warwickshire County Council


Stareton Hall
National Agriculture Exhibition Centre (NAEC), Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth CV8 2LZ
United Kingdom

How can higher level skills help drive economic growth?

This breakfast conference is for businesses and education providers with a real interest in enabling local young people to move into higher level jobs in the local workforce. It is a key element of Warwickshire County Council's £3 million Skills for Employment programme which has funded more than 40,000 Careers and Employability activities in the county in the past 4 years with more than 600 local businesses taking part.

Competition for talent is tougher than ever due to continuing strong growth in the county’s economy, and very low levels of unemployment, and then there is Brexit which is likely to make the challenge even harder. That’s why the Council's 5th annual skills conference will explore some less conventional ways of recruiting talent and ways of growing higher level skills in the workforce. For example, thousands of graduates leave universities in Coventry and Warwick each year yet few apply for jobs in Warwickshire. The Council and the universities are keen to address that in order to keep more talent in the county. Also, many more students completing ‘A’ levels are interested in working while they continue developing through degree/ higher apprenticeships rather than going to university.

Conference delegates will:

  • Hear the Council’s latest forecast for the demand and supply of higher level skills in the county through to 2026 and its plans to support development of more higher level education and training
  • Hear about the Council's aim to increase the range of Degree and Higher Apprenticeships available locally to enable businesses to develop their workforce
  • Hear from Coventry and Warwick Universities about how they would like to work with local businesses to enable more of their graduates to gain jobs in the county and help develop their existing workforce to higher levels
  • Find out about schools with ‘A’ level students interested in finding jobs with development to higher levels when they leave in Summer 2019
  • Hear about the Council’s new all-age careers strategy which aims to enable residents of all ages to find new employment or progress to higher levels in their current employment
  • Discuss issues raised with other delegates and speakers in roundtable and Q&A sessions
  • Network with other delegates in pre and post conference refreshment sessions

To request the final programme listing all speakers which will be available from the beginning of February 2019, please e-mail

A complimentary breakfast is available from 7:30am and the conference will begin at 8:00am. Ample free parking is available.


  • 7:30am Buffet breakfast and networking
  • 8:00am Welcome: Cllr. Peter Butlin, Deputy Leader, Warwickshire County Council (WCC)
  • 8:05am Strategic developments for Skills Monica Fogarty, Joint Managing Director, WCC
  • 8:20am Forecast for Skills shortages and gaps to 2026 David Ayton-Hill, Economy & Skills Team Manager, WCC
  • 8:35am Question & Answer session
  • 8:45am What do Degree Apprenticeships really mean for business? Kerry McGreavy, Apprenticeship Manager, Coventry University Apprenticeships
  • 8:55am How can employers access the graduate talent pool? Professor Pat Tissington, Academic Director of Employability and Skills, University of Warwick
  • 9:05am How Can Further Education Colleges help? Neil Coker, Group Vice- Principal, Curriculum, Warwickshire College Director, Rugby
  • 9:15am 6th Form leavers looking for jobs with training and development Ian Smith-Childs, Headteacher, The Coleshill School
  • 9:25am What more can WCC, businesses and education providers do to enable recruitment to tackle Skills shortages and gaps? Roundtable discussion led by Mark Ryder, Strategic Director, Communities, WCC
  • 9:40am Plenary feedback on discussion
  • 9:50am Closing Remarks Cllr. Colin Hayfield, Education & Learning Portfolio Holder
  • 10:00am Networking and refreshments

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