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Barker Storey Matthews’ Simon Burton is Chair of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Bury St Edmunds. The following article is reproduced here by kind permission of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Two of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s many roles are to use our members’ expertise and insights to both shape policy changes at a national level and to promote the county to a wider audience.

We’ve already been very busy across both fronts this year. 

As regards the former, we hosted a meeting Elena Magrini, a senior analyst at the Centre for Cities and a commissioner for the Workplace Training and development Commission, which has been set up by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the national business body to which we are affiliated. 

The commission has been gathering evidence for a number of months and will be issuing an interim report in the spring into how the UK can better support workers from the age of 25 and upwards.

The final report will provide the basis for the BCC and accredited chambers, such as Suffolk Chamber, to lobby the Government for changes to be made. 

The round-table event identified a range of challengers facing companies, including diifficulties in navigating the skills system, the reluctance of some staff to retrain due to work and domestic time pressures, and concerns about staff leaving for new jobs once they receive training investment.

Many businesses also felt that there was too much focus on formal qualifications and not enough on developing the right attitudes among staff and their willingness to learn and adapt. 

Participants had a clear list of what they want from the Government to improve workplace training and development.

These include reducing the constant changes in the education system, establishing a single source of advice and support for businesses to turn to and increased capital investment, as well as revenue expenditure in boosting training facilities, including new technologies.

The businesses present also wanted a better mix of classroom and on-the-job training in more bite-sized chunks and a more joined-up approach between businesses and skills providers.

At the same time, we are starting another year of working with Suffolk County Council on the next Invest in Suffolk Ambassadors’ programme.

Invest in Suffolk was launched by Suffolk County Council in 2014 to promote the county as a business location and to respond to inward investment inquiries and opportunities. 

Working together with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Invest in Suffolk has recruited more than 100 high-profile business leaders and professionals to become ambassadors, who are willing to use their expertise to positively influence other decision makers to ensure Suffolk reaches its potential as a top business location.

 For more information about Barker Storey Matthews in Suffolk, contact Simon Burton, sb@bsm.uk.com and for Suffolk Chamber of Commerce see https://www.suffolkchamber.co.uk