Suffolk: Chamber puts skills on the agenda at Westminster

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock speaking to Suffolk Chamber of Commerce members and guests at a dinn

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock speaking to Suffolk Chamber of Commerce members and guests at a dinner for business leaders hosted by the chamber at the House of Commons. - Credit: Archant

Minister for Skills Matthew Hancock has told business and civic leaders from Suffolk that the Government is committed and listening to local firms on the issue of skills.

Mr Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, was speaking a dinner hosted at the House of Commons by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Business leaders from the across the East of England attended the event, where they also heard from Ben Gummer, the MP for Ipswich.

Mr Hancock said: “As the minister responsible for skills I know what an important role skills have in the recovery of our economy.

“We are committed to listening to Suffolk businesses and as we look towards the future it is vital that projects to deliver skills that business demands must be driven locally.”

He added: “There is a real importance that Government listens to business and not the other way round as has been the case in the past.

“We need to hear what your views are and ensure that Government is a part of business life. If we get that right then we know the vital role it will play in the future of UK plc.”

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Points raised during questions to the minister included a comment that achieving a skilled workforce needs to start the classroom, the importance of ICT as a skills issue and the need for training to be flexible to meeting local demand and need.

Peter Funnell, president of Suffolk Chamber, said: “We are pleased that one of our Members of Parliament is leading the Governments skills agenda.

“There is no doubt that skills and the future of training provision for what our businesses need is key to future economic success in Suffolk.

“It is also encouraging that Matt spoke openly and with a real sense of commitment about the value of apprenticeships.”