It’s been a busy few weeks here at the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce.
We welcomed a visit from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Director General, Shevaun Haviland, published the results on an opinion poll on the planned expansion of Luton Airport, met with Vauxhall to discuss electric vehicle strategy and funding, and hosted a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) event to help businesses combat the skills shortage.
As a set of activities, it demonstrates the sheer breadth of support we bring to our members - elevating local issues and opportunities in the media and at national (and governmental) level; fighting our businesses’ corner; and getting our regional employers’ voices heard.
Getting the ear of Government
The opinion survey we commissioned on the proposed expansion of London Luton Airport showed strong support for the proposal and its perceived benefits: more jobs, positive impact on the economy, and the attraction of more investment to the area.
Bringing the BCC’s Director General to Luton to meet with the Airport leadership team. and publishing the results of the survey to local and regional media at the same time, helped focus Government attention on the proposal, which is currently awaiting approval.
It’s an excellent example of how our connection to the wider British Chambers of Commerce enables us to represent our members – whether smaller businesses or larger concerns like London Luton Airport - at the “top table” of Government.
Futureproofing the County’s car industry
Equally, our recent meeting with Chamber member Vauxhall broached issues of national importance – including UK supply chain, incentives and funding, the post-Brexit regulatory environment, and the pathway to vehicle electrification.
Once more, the Director General’s presence at this meeting demonstrated how local businesses can have influence way belong the local area, and why their voices need representation at a national level.
Training the people your business needs
One of the most important topics we have enabled our membership to speak out on in recent times has been, as mentioned above, Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs).
This Government-backed initiative seeks to address local employers’ skills shortages by enabling them to influence the subjects, skills, and competencies taught in local Further Education (FE) institutions.
On 3rd March we ran an in-person event - The Employer’s Voice - with nearly 100 businesses, partners and key stakeholders in attendance, to capture delegates’ views on four key areas:
- Skills Demand: the skills most needed to support local economic growth and boost productivity
- Skills Supply: to identify the skills, capabilities or expertise currently supplied in the region and the extent to which there are gaps in meeting current or future requirements
- Sector Skill Needs: to identify current and future skill needs required in the region in specific business sectors
- Target Groups: to understand the demand for skills and how employability, progression and life chances of residents can be improved to meet the identified needs of employers
We’ve also opened up a survey to all local business – not just Chamber members – to submit their views, and help us drive a better outcome from the Plan. Please ensure you complete the survey, if you haven’t already done so, at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/X27X8M6
As with all such projects, it’s only when Government signs it off that the hard work really begins. But Chamber members can take heart from the fact that, with us on their side, they won’t be expected to do it alone.
For more information on how Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce works to represent your business’s views locally, regionally, nationally, and in Government – as well as connect you to like-minded peers, prospects, and suppliers - visit www.chamber-business.com, or call 01582 522448.