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Skills top of business agenda

Skills were top of the agenda when the South East Local Enterprise Partnership visited Harlow College for its Skills Conference and Annual General Meeting recently.

More than 140 representatives from business, education and local authorities attended the event, which included an opportunity to tour the college’s new Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Centre (AMEC), for which SELEP helped secure £2.5m towards its development.

While touring AMEC, Adam Bryan, Chief Executive of SELEP, the organisation that champion’s the area’s economy, spoke to students and lecturers and saw the 3D printing department’s capabilities, alongside other high-tech engineering facilities.

Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP said: “It is clear that across our area we have a network of universities and further education colleges that are making a tangible difference to the skills of our young people and the productivity of local businesses.

“However, there’s still much more that needs to be done in terms of engaging with local students and highlighting the depth and diversity of careers on offer locally if we are to compete against the pull of London.”

The event showcased the role of SELEP’s Skills Advisory Group, which works with businesses and partners across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.

AMEC provides state-of-the-art facilities to help train and inspire young engineers and operations and maintenance engineers by providing hands-on experience and real cutting-edge technical skills. The new centre provides upskilling, reskilling and professional development for people already in employment.

Harlow College was one of five further education colleges across the South East to win a bid to the SELEP Skills Capital Fund, which is designed to reduce skills shortages, support growth industries and provide the best possible facilities for the area’s young people to access vocational skills and training.