Posted on 17th March 2016
Helping the makers to march…
Wednesday’s budget was broadly positive, particularly for small businesses and included a number of surprises such as the sugar levy, the new ISA model and reductions in Corporation Tax, Business Rates and Stamp Duty on commercial property.
For the manufacturing and engineering sector the changes were pretty agnostic, however, one announcement may have a fundamental effect on the ability of the sector to deal with its skills deficit – all state schools would by 2020 have to become, or have plans to become, Academy schools.
Academy schools are effectively self managing and independent of local government, but funded directly from central government. The good and the bad news is that they can make many decisions around the priorities they follow by themselves. That may be useful, but when the nation has a strategic need to produce more engineers it is a potential problem, unless the Government decides to target and point all of those schools in a particular direction.
For the manufacturing, engineering and technology sector, central government needs to target and fund such schools not only to deliver a STEM biased curriculum, but one with an appropriate vocational slant. This should equip young people with the skills needed by businesses in future. The resultant quality of Engineering Apprentices going into schemes funded by the new Apprenticeship Levy would then improve.
So, if the Government is still interested in orchestrating the ‘March of the Makers’, it should grasp the opportunity to meet one of the fundamental aims of our national educational system, which is to make sure that enough young people are given the opportunity to attain the qualifications and motivation to join a sector where one of the main barriers to growth has been a long standing skills shortage.
"“I can’t speak highly enough of the BHBPA. As a small local business we feel very much part of a community and thoroughly enjoy the annual exhibition and meetings throughout the year. Over the years we have built fantastic working relationships with many BHBPA members and every meeting and event offers us opportunities to work with more. This is networking at its best! ” "
"“We have been members of BHBPA from its inception, and seen the organisation steadily grow and expand into the dynamic entity it is today, bringing positive benefits to all its members.""
"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."
"I am delighted to have a long-standing relationship with the BHBPA. Since its foundation the Association has gone from strength to strength and there is no doubt that it has brought huge benefits to its members and the business community as a whole through the partnerships it has formed with the local authorities, Sussex Police and local organisations. It is paramount that Burgess Hill businesses have an effective collective voice."