Businesses discuss skills gaps at panel discussion | Walsall College

Businesses discuss skills gaps at panel discussion

As part of the Black Country Business Festival, Walsall College held its Skills Summit panel discussion on Monday 30th April, where local businesses were invited to talk about the skills gaps within their organisation and across the region.

The event, which includes an expert panel, took place at Walsall College’s Business and Sports Hub between 4pm – 6pm.

The aim of the panel discussion was for local businesses to network and share where their organisations have experienced skills gaps.

During the event, James Norris, Walsall College’s Assistant Principal, shared results from their independently commissioned report on local labour market workforce, which also revealed predictions for key growth occupations.


The Skills Summit was an opportunity for local businesses to hear from those who have successfully identified and mitigated skills gaps in their businesses, and how organisations are using the apprenticeship levy.

Headed by James Norris, the expert panel included a wide range of apprentice recruitment professionals from a local organisations that have seen significant business growth through apprenticeships.

The panel composed of Mark Stone (Apprentice Recruitment and CSR Manager at Perkins Engine), Helena Baxter (Project Officer for Walsall Council’s Apprenticeship Programme) and Rachel Andrew (Head of Learning and Development at Dudley Group of Hospitals)

Laura Myatt, a former Walsall College student who is now a Project Analyst at Perkins Engine, also joined the panel to talk about how an apprenticeship helped her start a career in a field she is passionate about.


James Norris, Walsall College’s Assistant Principal in Commercial Development, said: “In the Black Country, 66 per cent of employers report that they have skills shortages, indicating that technical, practical and job specific skills are an issue with skilled trades the most difficult vacancies to fill.

The Skills Summit was a great opportunity for local businesses to work together to address the skills gap across the West Midlands, and discuss the benefits of apprenticeships.

Responding to employer needs is one of our highest priorities here at Walsall College. The event is a chance for us to listen to employers about what they require from the next generation of workers. This will feed into our curriculum to ensure that students are equipped with the skills to not only build a successful future for themselves, but to also drive prosperity for West Midlands area.

If you’re interested in hiring an apprentice or running a masterclass, please contact Walsall College on

Published on May 02nd 2018

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