One of the key yet underrated roles of FSB in supporting small businesses is in the local lobbying and representational work that takes place across the UK.
This can come in many forms, from meeting MPs and local authority leaders to get across the key business issues of the day, to responding to consultations, speaking out in the media or attending partnership meetings on particular topics.
FSB was recently invited to spend a morning with leaders in the world of education at County Hall in Preston, the home of Lancashire County Council.
Most businesses will as yet be unaware of the new ‘T-level’ qualifications which are to be introduced, aimed at improving technical qualifications of the workforce to boost productivity. These will sit alongside apprenticeships and the education-based routes of A Levels and Degrees.
Small businesses will welcome the move to streamline and standardise the immensely messy landscape of technical education. In the past many employers have struggled to understand the mindboggling number of different qualifications on offer, making it hard to tell which have value and which do not.
We support the idea of a clear and equal pathway for young people into more vocational occupations. For too long the academic pathway has been held up as the most desirable route to learning, leaving the UK underskilled in technical knowledge and practical skills valued by industry.
The key for small businesses in Lancashire and Cumbria will be how joined up the system is. We want local colleges and training providers to work collaboratively when they contact employers rather than confusing the picture with multiple providers trying to contact the same businesses, resulting in a business owner who chooses to opt out entirely.
This was the crux of our message to the education sector in what was a lively and positive meeting.
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