Robin Walker, MP for Worcester welcomed his colleague, Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills and Enterprise to Worcester last week. The Minister visited Worcester City and beyond, to launch Worcestershire’s Growth Hub. The scheme, the first of its kind across the West Midlands, acts as a point of contact linking employers and helping small businesses through online services and forums.
Today 20th June, Robin joined local businesses and education organisations for a Worcestershire education network event taking forward Worcestershire’s leading role in bringing together schools and businesses. The event allowed more than twenty educational businesses to engage with Business Managers and Head Teachers from across the County. It was hosted by Coomber; a local audio education equipment provider in Worcester. A wide range of businesses attended this afternoon, including Dragon’s Den winner Magic Whiteboard Ltd, also based in Worcester.
During his trip to Worcester, Robin also took the Minister to see The Hive and the Skills Centre at the Technology College – two more examples of close collaborations between councils, businesses and schools. More than 20 organisations have come together to launch Worcestershire Business Central.
The Minister saw examples of how Worcestershire Business Central is helping businesses to support schools and encouraging engagement and collaboration between the two. He was particularly impressed and welcomed the fact that all Worcestershire schools have signed up to a network helping their students to access work experience and trainee opportunities.
During his visit, the Minister said: "The Government is an unashamed supporter of small business. Last year it made a commitment to ensure the support is simple, easy to find and designed around businesses' needs to help them start up and scale up. Small businesses are the cornerstone of long-term economic growth.
“Worcestershire’s schools and businesses collaboration should be an example to other parts of the country”.
Gary Woodman, from Worcestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the main lobbying body for private sector employers in the county, said: "We are leading the field in Worcestershire and join the county council in welcoming the minister to the official launch of the West Midlands' first growth hub here in Worcestershire."
Robin said: “It’s great to hear Worcestershire is leading the way in this field. As a member of the Business, Skills and Innovation Select Committee and someone who is passionate about education, this is an agenda I am keen to encourage. There are great opportunities for young people in Worcester when our local SMEs bring their energy and enthusiasm as well as their products into schools”.