‘The need to develop new skills and innovative ways of working is more important than ever’

Creative business people planning with adhesive notes

This award is open to businesses of all shapes and sizes that are committed to going above and beyond their business needs to equip people with the skills of the future - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Education in Business Award at the Suffolk Business Awards will recognise an organisation that is going above and beyond its business needs to equip people with the skills of the future. Here we speak to the judges, Claire Casbolt, business development manager at Suffolk New College, and Phil Stittle, executive director of business development at West Suffolk College. 

Why were you keen to get involved in the Suffolk Business Awards? 

Claire: I am keen to promote education in business and encourage those with ambition to push for their goals whilst gathering the required knowledge and competencies.  I enjoy seeing the journey and success of those around me and would like to support them by being involved in the awards.   

Claire Casbolt, business development manager at Suffolk New College

Claire Casbolt, business development manager at Suffolk New College - Credit: Suffolk New College

Why is it important to recognise education in business? 

Phil: Education and business need to work hand in hand to ensure the correct staff skills are identified and developed so businesses can remain competitive and continue to feed the local and national economy.    

We have never seen a more challenging year, with that though comes diversity and an opportunity in some cases to do things differently. This award seeks to give businesses recognition for their achievements throughout this extraordinary period. 

Phil Stittle, executive director of business developmentat West Suffolk College Picture: West Suff

Phil Stittle, executive director of business development at West Suffolk College - Credit: West Suffolk College

What do you bring to the judging process?  

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Claire: An understanding of education but also a commercial awareness that will help evaluate business plans and identify keys talents to select the winner.   

Do you have any anecdotes of moments that changed your business strategy?  

Phil: Every staff member is different and faces different challenges.  Staff make or break your business so understanding them is the only way to succeed. 

Claire: Writing the PQQ bid to become an approved apprenticeship training provider gave me a true insight into apprenticeship funding and quality. While being employer-focused for the majority of my career, this enabled me an insight into the financial impact of training and the quality that is required to face financial audit and Ofsted Inspections.  

Why is skills development so important in creating a workforce of the future?  

Claire: Being experts in the education sector we see every day how the development of skills provides employment opportunities. Recent events have forced a digital transformation for many businesses, with this the need to develop new skills and innovative ways of working is more important than ever.   

What will you be looking for in the winner and what advice would you give to a business that’s considering entering?  

Claire: We’re looking for someone who has harnessed their ambition and utilised training to grow their business. Look at your journey and envisage your five-year plan, incorporating what training you may need to reach your goals. 

Phil: Passion, creativity and resourcefulness are essential. Be simplistic in your entry and make yourself jump off the page through the passion you have for your industry. 

EDUCATION IN BUSINESS AWARD CRITERIA 

This award is open to businesses of all shapes and sizes that are committed to skill development for the benefit of the local community.  

The judges will be looking for an organisation that is going above and beyond its business needs to equip people with the skills of the future. The winner of this award will be putting into place practices or procedures to enable the next generation to succeed. 

The closing date for entries is August 15. To enter, go to www.suffolkbusinessawards.co.uk

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