Michele Lawty-Jones – Lancashire Skills & Employment Hub

Lancashire businesses celebrated for commitment to the Lancashire Skills Pledge

Businesses from across the whole county convened in Preston to celebrate their contributions towards investing in the skills of people living and working in Lancashire.

The Lancashire Skills Pledge, which is an initiative run by Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub, recognises employers who are committed to inspiring, recruiting and upskilling Lancashire’s people.

It is a simple front door for businesses to access support to navigate skills and employment programmes across Lancashire – helping employers to build their future workforce, recruit locally and to reskill and upskill their employees.

The Lancashire Skills Pledge is a Pan-Lancashire initiative supported by Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council. There are eight Skills Pledges in total and six Pledge Partners who manage them.

This year's annual Lancashire Skills Pledge Celebration and Awards Event took place at County Hall in Preston and was attended by more than 100 business representatives.

Lancashire businesses received certificates for their commitment to the Lancashire Skills Pledge for the coming year. In addition, for the first this time this year, special awards were given against each pledge for those businesses that had shown outstanding commitment.

This year's event also saw a special address from Lancashire County Council Leader Phillippa Williamson, who updated businesses on the consultation that has been launched into a devolution proposal that would create a new Combined County Authority for the region.

It comes after the Government offered an historic devolution deal to the county as part of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement last month.

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson said: "This was such a good event to be involved with and it was brilliant to see so many businesses who are committed to re-skilling and up-skilling their employees.

"I am passionate about this subject, as having a highly skilled workforce is so important to the Lancashire economy.

"That is why it is one of the flagship areas within our devolution proposal as well as championed by Lancashire County Council."

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson-3

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Leader of Lancashire County Council 

The aim of the annual Skills Pledge celebration event is to thank businesses for their contribution to upskilling and inspiring people living and working in Lancashire during the last year.

Since the launch of the Lancashire Skills Pledge in May 2019, 377 business have registered their interest in 1,363 Skills Pledges.

Of these, 247 businesses are Skills Pledge Members who are actively engaged in 533 Pledges.

Since the last Skills Pledge celebration event in December 2022, Skills Pledge membership has grown by 55 (29%).

Two Lancashire Skills Pledge members, Peter Caney from BAE Systems and Georgia Thomas from Victrex also addressed the audience at the event, outlining how engagement with local communities across Lancashire and the Skills Pledge has benefited their business.

Peter Caney, Head of Service Innovation, Projects and Future Capability, BAE Systems, said: "As chair of the Lancashire Careers Hub Cornerstone Group, it was a pleasure to be given the opportunity to speak at the Lancashire Skills Pledge celebration. 

"BAE Systems are committed to inspiring young people and to supporting communities across Lancashire – both as an anchor employer in the locality and to build our future talent pipeline. 

"The Lancashire Skills Pledge is a brilliant initiative, which enables Lancashire companies to engage in a range of skills and employment programmes – benefiting the people of Lancashire and their businesses – it was great to celebrate the commitment of so many local employers."

Peter Caney, BAE Systems

Peter Caney, BAE Systems

Georgia Thomas, Corporate Social Responsibility Lead at Victrex, said: "At Victrex we value engaging the local community and are committed to inspiring the next generation and building an inclusive and diverse workforce. 

"As a company, not only are we seeing impact in the local community, but we are also building the brand of Victrex and attracting talent to the business. This isn't just about social responsibility; this is about building a sustainable talent pipeline. 

"It was a pleasure to join so many committed businesses on Friday to celebrate the Skills Pledge."

Georgia Thomas - Victrex

Georgia Thomas, Victrex

County Councillor Jayne Rear, cabinet member for Education and Skills at Lancashire County Council, thanked Lancashire businesses for their continued commitment to the Skills Pledge.

County Councillor Jayne Rear said: "The Skills Pledge is our way to offer one front door so businesses can access the support they need to recruit and reskill.

"We want to support people to develop their skills throughout their lives and attract business to the county because of our highly skilled workforce.

"Skills Pledge membership has seen considerable growth so I would like to thank our Lancashire wide business community for showing this commitment and ask them to spread the word so that more businesses can commit to the Skills Pledge in 2024."

Lancashire Skills Pledge celebration event

The Lancashire Skills Pledge celebration event was attended by more than 100 business representatives

To find out more about Lancashire's devolution proposal and take part in the consultation visit www.lancashiredevolution.co.uk

More information about the devolution deal is also available here Consultation launched to shape future of Lancashire

Employers can learn more about the Lancashire Skills Pledge and sign up at lancashireskillspledge.co.uk