New North Somerset consortium addresses region's skill gap
By LPhillips2009 | Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 15:55
A new partnership has been forged between the business and education sectors in North Somerset that will not only strengthen each partner’s presence across the region but improve employment opportunities for people living in the area.
Mark Hands, Gill Fowkes and Paul Butchers launch the new consortium to help address the region's skill gap
The consortium is made up of DoubleTree by Hilton (Cadbury House), The Cadbury Garden Centre, Congresbury and Weston College the idea being to share networking opportunities and business contacts, collaborate on joint projects and support the local community by working in partnership, sponsoring events, activities and local charities.
It will also look to address and improve the skill base of local employees by tailoring courses at the college.
Applying to all age groups the aim is to launch the consortium in time for the new academic year in September 2010. It will also help improve the purchasing power of each partner enabling them to invest any monies saved back into the regional economy.
With both DoubleTree by Hilton and Cadbury Garden Centre operating in the leisure sector and Weston College offering training in the workplace in the hotel, leisure and catering sectors, including business and administration, means students will receive training that is not only relevant to these two local employers but will help improve their employment opportunities once they complete their studies.
Mark Hands, group general manager at DoubleTree said: “As a major employer in North Somerset we have a responsibility to provide work for as many local people as possible. If those opportunities can be improved through the close cooperation with the consortium partners can only bode well for the future.
“Tailoring courses and improving the qualifications will help reduce skills gaps which in turn will improve employment in certain sectors and I’m very much looking forward to working closely with my peers from both Weston College and Cadbury Garden Centre.”
Gill Fowkes, head of marketing and communication at Weston College said: “The aim is to create collaboration between likeminded companies, that will benefit us in business through joint ventures and better cost controls and result in enhanced working relationships.
“There are plenty of potential advantages to such a venture. We can offer the businesses access to training opportunities which could be used as incentives for staff. They in turn can help our students with work placements.”
Paul Butchers, store manager at Cadbury Garden Centre added: “As a direct neighbour to DoubleTree by Hilton we deal with each other on a regular basis. It makes economic sense to explore avenues that will be beneficial to all parties as well as the local economy.
“Developing links with Weston College is also great news. The provision of courses pertinent to what local businesses are looking for will help improve job opportunities and ensure that their futures as a local employer remain secure.”