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On Friday 13 April members of the East Hampshire Conservative Association joined with representatives from the Future Skills Centre in Bordon - part of Basingstoke College of Technology - and the Headmasters and students from The Petersfield School and Bohunt School in Liphook, to discuss and develop ideas on the skills and training required for the 21st Century, one of a series of topics being considered by the Conservative Policy Forum. It was a fascinating evening, bringing together key local groups, each with a close and immediate interest in this subject - senior school students who are actively thinking about the skills and training they will need for future careers, the views of a further education college that offers training for advanced technical skills and apprenticeships, and local grassroots members of the Conservative party and their friends who are keen for ‘frontline’ views on these areas to be taken into account in future Government policy-making. The event was held in Sheet Village Hall and in all 55 people attended, with the panel of experts including The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP (MP for East Hampshire), Mr Steven Gilder (Manager of the Future Skills Centre) and Mr Philip Greenish (Chief Executive of The Royal Academy of Engineering and Council Member of the University of Southampton). In order to provide a focus for discussion those attending were invited to consider 6 questions:• Whose responsibility should training be: the citizen, schools and universities, the employer, the state, all of them?• How might Government boost productivity across UK?• In what ways could the UK build on its world class reputation for training, and expand opportunities for lifelong vocational training?• In what ways does training need to catch up with the changing skills requirements of modern technology?• How should Government deal with possible widening income gaps arising from increased technology?• What policies should Government adopt in relation to reducing our reliance on skilled expertise from abroad?A wide variety of original and imaginative ideas emerged, many of which are now being fed into the Conservative Party’s policy-making machinery in London. The topic was considered initially by three groups that were asked to focus on specific elements of the overall issue; the outcome of those considerations was later discussed in plenary session with contributions from the three expert panellists.
After the evening, Damian Hinds said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to join this event. Developing the right skills and training for the future is very important for the long term economic security of the country, ensuring our workforce is able to take advantage of the opportunities available. I was very impressed by the contributions made during the evening, and the ideas that surfaced from the discussions.”Future Skills Centre Manager Steve Gilder said: “The Future Skills Centre and Basingstoke College of Technology were honoured to be part of this event. Our role in training the next generation and providing young people with employability skills through teaching and apprenticeships to enable them to step into the world of work is crucial. In Bordon particularly, our remit is to help narrow the skills gap and meet local demand for construction based jobs. This event was an excellent opportunity to highlight the issues we face and help shape the future of skills and training in the 21st century.” To find out more about the Future Skills Centre, please visit bcot.ac.uk/bordonfsc or follow @BordonFSC on Twitter. Apply today to study construction at the Bordon Future Skills Centre in September 2018.