Closing the Skills Gap North Conference 18th March 2020

Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford

Closing the Skills Gap – Accessing Funded Training

“Companies in industry must use UK training providers or risk losing them” That’s was the warning Gary Baker the Chair of Furniture & Interiors, Education, Skills & Training Alliance (FIESTA), issued to delegates at the 2019 London Closing the Gap Conference. The introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017 was accompanied by cuts to funded training for SMEs and this has actually seen the number of new apprentices in our sector fall. Yet funded training for apprenticeships and upskilling is readily available to all sizes of businesses but is not being accessed. Since the Bridging the Gap conference in 2017, FIESTA has been working towards a solution that will enable furniture and interiors businesses of all size to easily access funded training for apprentices and the upskilling of existing staff and Skills Plus will be presented at this conference.

Conference Programme

10.30am – 11.00am – Registration

11.00am – 11.30am – Welcome and review of the current situation since the publication of the Mind the Gap report in 2015. Gary Baker, Managing Director of CD (UK) Ltd and Chairman of FIESTA.

11.30am – 12 noon – Accessing Funded Training for upskilling and apprentice training The Skills Plus Solution. Carmen Daley Operations Manager of the Apprentice Management Group, and Martin James, Commercial Director of Didac.

12 noon – 12.40pm – Apprenticeships do work for employers, an industry panel discussion exploring the myths, challenges and benefits for employers in recruiting and developing apprentices. The panel includes representatives from Carlick Contract Furniture, DFS, Callerton Kitchens & Interiors and Croft & Assinder.

12.40pm – 1.00pm – Summary and Open Q&A session led by Gary Baker.

1.00pm – 2pm – Delegate 121s with the Skills Plus team, lunch and networking.

Tickets cost £10 + fees and include refreshments during the event and a buffet lunch at 1pm.

There is ample parking at the hotel or the Bradford stations are a 10 minute ride to the hotel.

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