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Skills 4 Plymouth Summit 2023

Yesterday the Skills 4 Plymouth Summit was attended by almost 100 representatives from local business and our city-wide partnership to reflect on the Skills4Plymouth plan, looking at where we are now and shaping next steps.

We were grateful to be joined by several passionate guest speakers, including Cllr Sally Cresswell, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, and there was a real buzz at the event as our fantastic host Jonathan Keable engaged delegates in various table discussions and a quiz as we worked through key themes for the day.

Topics under discussion included attracting new talent to the city, supporting in work progression, skills for modern leadership, and a particular emphasis on the key issues facing our young people when it comes to engaging with employment opportunities and the emerging solutions that are responding to issues locally. This included officially launching Unlocking Plymouth’s Potential, the new SEET strategy that will support more young people in Plymouth to succeed in their transition into adult life and the world of work.

Sarah Elliott, Destination Plymouth; Peter Stokes, Plymouth Neurodiverse Employers Network; Jo Lacy, Plymouth City Council; Tina Brinkworth, Plymouth City Council; Sharron Robbie MBE, Chair of the Plymouth SEND Employment Forum; Jonathan Keable, Interim Chair of Plymouth's Employment and Skills Board; Cllr Sally Cresswell, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships; Emma Hewitt, Plymouth City Council; Lynne McBain, Department for Work and Pensions; Mark Trewin, On Course South West; Janet Knight, Department for Work and Pensions; Emma Symonds, Citizens Advice Plymouth

Jo Lacy, Skills Launchpad Manager said: "A key goal when organising the Summit was to identify and address the barriers that young people face when trying to access employment. Together, we discussed issues around mental health, transport, reasonable adjustments, recruitment processes and increased awareness and confidence in supporting new and existing members of the workforce who may need specific support.

"With support from our DWP colleagues, we were able to share insight into the support Disability Employment Advisors can provide local businesses to help with becoming a Disability Confident employer and the Access to Work scheme. Presentations from Peter Stokes and Sharron Robbie around neurodiversity and Supported SEND Internships started some great conversations about the unique qualities all humans can offer the workplace and ways of enabling inclusive recruitment. I feel proud that our city-wide partnership is leading these conversations, and feel encouraged by the ideas shared that will drive the Skills4Plymouth agenda forward."

Emma Hewitt, Skills Lead at Plymouth City Council said: "A huge thank you to everyone involved in this year's Skills 4 Plymouth Summit. It is our intention to run this as an annual event to keep these important conversations going and to be held accountable for the actions formed. We now plan to refresh the strategy to incorporate the ideas discussed and align them with the administration’s priorities as outlined by Cllr Cresswell.

"We're on an exciting journey as a city, and whilst there's more work to be done, the Summit highlighted just how invested our local businesses and training providers are in this agenda. Watch this space."

If your business would like to connect with us to shape future opportunities, please email


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