The Employment and Skills Board brings together employers with education, training and skills providers. Its job is to create a more inclusive and appropriately skilled workforce, giving businesses the skills they need to grow.

It’s being reshaped to meet the challenges and opportunities of a post-Covid and post-Brexit world, and to better reflect the LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy, which is a blueprint for Cornwall’s economy for the next ten years.

We’re looking for energetic, committed business people who are willing to give around one day a month to help shape the vital employment and skills agenda in Cornwall and Scilly.

In particular, we are looking for people from the following areas of the economy: tourism, agri-food, data and space, creative, digital, marine, construction, health and social care, engineering and manufacturing, energy, and the third sector.

The labour issues facing our economy are many and varied, and we find ourselves in a dynamic and fluid situation with few places in the UK experiencing such a severe economic impact from coronavirus. So, the Employment and Skills Board is not about addressing a one-dimensional ‘skills gap’, but much more.

Challenges range from the need for higher level skills in emerging industries, to reskilling middle-aged workers who may be facing redundancy for the first time in their working lives, to giving hope and aspiration to young people so that we avoid another ‘lost generation’ of blighted opportunity, which is what happened after the 2008 financial crisis.

Coronavirus has been a catalyst for much of this change. Brexit will be another driver. And the LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy is laying the foundations for a ‘green’ recovery that capitalises on our clean energy resources, mineral wealth, and space and data economy ambitions, while focusing on how and how we can make our more traditional industries like tourism and farming more sustainable.

I’m keen to get a wide variety of people onto the board; all ages, all backgrounds and from all industries. And I’m desperately keen to get representatives from small employers because those are the people who are at the sharp end of our businesses and truly understand what the needs are now and what they will need going forward.

If we are going to give ourselves the best possible chance of making a prosperous and thriving community for us all, we need to make sure the board represents the widest variety of backgrounds and skillsets. If that sounds like you then please visit the LEP website and make your application by 12 noon on Friday September 4.

Frances Brennan chairs the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership’s Employment and Skills Board.

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