Pictured from left to right outside the premises at Victrex in Thornton Cleveleys are Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, Director of Lancashire Skills & Employment Hub, Councillor Jayne Rear, cabinet member for Education and Skills at Lancashire County Council, Lancashire County Councillor Ash Sutcliffe, Kimberley Helm, Enterprise Coordinator at the Lancashire Careers Hub and Chris Maddock, Deputy Hub Leader at the Lancashire Careers Hub.

Councillors visit world leading company to back Lancashire Skills Pledge

Councillors have praised a major scheme to boost local recruitment and skills during an inspirational visit to a Lancashire-based multinational company.

Lancashire County Councillors Jayne Rear, cabinet member for Education and Skills, and County Councillor Ash Sutcliffe visited world leading company Victrex at the Hillhouse Enterprise Zone in Thornton Cleveleys.

The inspiring visit came about as part of the Lancashire Skills Pledge, a vital scheme providing Lancashire businesses with "one door" to find out more about key skills and training initiatives. The skills pledge also recognises business for their investment and support in inspiring and upskilling the people of Lancashire. 

A world leader in high performance specialist chemical manufacturing for industries such as Aerospace and Medical and a constituent of the FTSE 250 index, Victrex has signed up to the Lancashire Skills Pledge, launched in 2019 to help businesses support skills and employment programmes across the county.

During the visit, Cllrs Rear and Sutcliffe spoke with dedicated Victrex apprentice Laura Bond, 21, of Chorley, who has just finished her level 3 and is currently applying for a degree apprenticeship to start in September with the company.

Laura said:

“I started my degree apprenticeship with Victrex after completing my BTEC last year, and I’m really enjoying the training and the opportunities as part of this programme.”

Cllr Rear said: 

“This was such a good event to be involved with and it was great to speak with Victrex and to Laura, and so see how committed they are to re-skilling and up-skilling their employees.

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

Cllr Sutcliffe said:

“This was a wonderful opportunity to see how a world leading company based in Lancashire is helping to recruit, train and develop skills locally.”

Georgia Thomas, sustainability & ESG manager at Victrex, outlined how engagement with local communities across Lancashire and the Skills Pledge has benefited their business.

She said:

"At Victrex we value engaging with the local community, in different ways such as through STEM, our Biodiversity partnerships and community volunteering, 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 for the future. This isn't just about social responsibility; this is about building a sustainable talent pipeline.

"It was a pleasure to welcome Councillors Rear and Sutcliffe, and to show them how we are investing in training and developing the future talent pipeline at Victrex, as part of the Lancashire Skills Pledge."

No less than 411  business have registered their interest in 1,482  skills pledges since the launch of the Lancashire Skills Pledge in May 2019, with 253 businesses actively engaged in 547 pledges as skills pledge members.

To find out more about the Lancashire Skills Pledge, and how businesses can sign up for it, visit Lancashire Skills Pledge - Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub (lancashireskillshub.co.uk)