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Two new appointments made to Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s Skills Group

Two highly knowledgeable leaders have been appointed to Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s Skills, Education and Employment (SEE) Strategy Group. Along with other leaders from local business and education, the Group provides direction and strategic support for the delivery of the ambitious Strategic Economic Plan, to understand and address key local skills challenges, provide strategic leadership that synchronises supply change for current and future generations.

Sarah Atkinson is Corporate Social Responsibility Director at FTSE 100 Micro Focus, headquartered in Newbury and trustee at Berkshire Youth, a charity that works to support, empower and inspire young people. Sarah said of her new position on the Strategy Group, “There is a war for talent and engaging underrepresented groups such as women and minorities is critical to help address the skills gap. I’m looking forward to working together to help our local population build the right skills, in fields from AI to cyber security, and to target underrepresented talent through sector specific projects, outreach activities and the removal of barriers to work. A good tech skills foundation is key, and everyone has a role to play in that.”

Maggie Neale, Workforce Development Manager for Berkshire West NHS, added, “Skills are an important issue in the healthcare sector right now. Without a skilled and motivated workforce, healthcare providers will struggle to continue to provide the excellent care that we all expect. I want to use my role on the Strategy Group to help equip young people with the right skills to help create a more prosperous future for Berkshire. I also want to inspire them that healthcare can be a fantastic and rewarding career to pursue.”

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has invested an additional £3.1m of Local Growth Funds to support skills capital projects as part of its Growth Deal with government. The projects include a Care Skills Training Centre at Reading College (working with the Royal Berkshire Hospital), which will focus on the healthcare sector and include training areas, which simulate hospital environments and emergency care scenarios; and a new purpose-built centre at Newbury College to address the higher-level skill requirements of key sectors, including digital technologies, business and finance, engineering, health and social care and construction.

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