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Fact-finding college tour for new LEP chief executive

Rachel Laver Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Graham Guest Telford College

The new chief executive of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership visited Telford College for a fact-finding tour.

Rachel Laver said she was keen to see some of the skills projects which have been funded by the partnership.

Construction students demonstrated some of the LEP-funded software in the college’s virtual

Rachel Laver and Joe Hindley | Telford College
Rachel Laver and Joe Hindley | Telford College

and augmented reality suite, which is being used to help them identify potential hazards before going out on site.

“I am really keen to understand the skills challenges locally and see how the Investing in our Future Workforce projects, funded by the LEP, are benefitting students and meeting local employer needs,” Rachel said.

“We have provided £4.97 million of Local Growth Funds to improve training facilities across the Marches, of which in excess of £500,000 went towards part-funding the new virtual and augmented reality training suite at Telford College which is a fantastic facility”.

“It was good to meet up with Graham Guest, who joins our LEP board this month, and discuss how we can work together to address these challenges and develop a comprehensive Local Skills Improvement Plan, which works for students and for employers across the region.”

The LEP project had delivered 152 apprenticeships and assisted 3,992

new learners by contract completion on 31 March 2021.

Rachel, who has succeeded Gill Hamer in the new role, was previously director of programmes at Cheshire and Warrington LEP where she managed more than £240 million of funding.

Telford College principal and chief executive Graham Guest will be officially joining the LEP board later this month as chair of its Skills Advisory Panel.

He said: “As a further education college, we have a responsibility to respond quickly and effectively to the changing needs of the local business community.

“I’m looking forward to developing a closer than ever working relationship with Rachel and her colleagues at the LEP, as well as other local business support organisations.

“It is vital to ensure that our curriculum and facilities here at Telford College are closely aligned with the needs of local employers.

“The Government clearly wants to see further education more closely aligned with the needs of employers, playing a pivotal role in the local economy.

“Here at Telford College, we’re already doing this. Not only have we aligned our curriculum to the needs of local employers, we’ve also set up a series of specialist skills hubs to encourage closer partnership working – with more on the way.”