Cambridgeshire must improve the
qualifications of its workforce and get more people involved in
on-going education and training if it is to enjoy economic success,
the head of the county's Learning and Skills Council told business
leaders in Peterborough in the week of the new council's launch.
Stephen Catchpole, executive director
of the council, was speaking at a meeting of more than 60 local
company directors and managers organised by the Greater Peterborough
Investment Agency and sponsored by BAA, operators of Stansted Airport.
The meeting was hosted in Peterborough's newly-refurbished Stuart
House office complex by developers Treasury Holdings Properties Ltd.
Mr Catchpole explained the role of the
47 local Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs) in planning and
coordinating post-16 education across the country. He wants the new
body - which formally came into being at the start of April - to work
closely with local businesses to identify and then meet their skills
and training needs.
He said: "Our role is to help
improve the competitiveness of local businesses. We need to get people
to understand that there is a clear link between training and success
- and we need to get that message across both to businesses and to
"We need to improve the county's
skills base, improve the qualifications of our workforce, and improve
the level of participation by getting more people involved in on-going
training and education."
John Durance, chairman of Greater
Peterborough Investment Agency, highlighted the links between what the
LSC is doing and the agency's own work in attracting inward investment
and supporting local businesses. He also pointed out the importance of
Stansted - which recently announced the start of daily flights to New
York - as a factor in the city's economic development.
John Williams of BAA told the meeting
that links between Peterborough and the airport were being improved
with a new hourly express coach service shortly to be launched to
supplement the existing hourly train service. More than 35 per cent of
Stansted's passengers arrive at the airport by public transport, a
higher proportion than at any other European airport.