Key figures from local government, business and education joined forces for the #AmazingAccrington Hyndburn Education Summit on Friday.

Hosted in the heart of Hyndburn, this year’s annual event took place within Accrington Town Hall – the purpose? Devising an action plan detailing how to equip local youth for future employment in the area.

David Burgess, MD at Accrington Stanley FC and Tony Grimshaw, Director at What More UK

Over the years it’s been evident that young people from the borough are seeking employment in neighbouring towns and cities after completing their studies, largely unaware of the exciting opportunities available on their doorstep in Accrington.

Amanda Melton, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Board Director for Skills & Technical Education came to discuss exactly how young people and businesses in Hyndburn can work together to achieve mutual success:

“It is so important that we sustain this momentum and communication. If we want employment to grow and people to thrive, we need to see today’s event as step one and make sure we can glue it all together to ensure a long-term investment.

We need to make sure we deal with the break-down in communication issues between business, education and council that we have heard about today. That is something we are all happy to work towards.”

Graham Jones, Member of Parliament for Haslingden and Hyndburn highlighted the importance of retaining talent, raising future aspirations and valuing the contributions young people can make to the local economy.

“Young people matter, we need to do better for them in terms of education and employment. I think what we will see is an evolution. If we can make those connections today, communicate well, we can offer young people a much brighter future.”

Graham Jones, MP

Attending to discuss their recruitment needs, some of the area’s largest employers were present including What More UK, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Studio Retail and Hyndburn Borough Council.

Tony Grimshaw, Director at Hyndburn Based business, What More UK – the largest plastic housewares manufacturer in Britain – emphasised where their current skills shortage resides, providing details of how local schools and colleges can respond to help narrow the gap.

“What I’ve taken from this morning is an action plan that prepares the youth of Accrington to come to work. They need preparation for interview for example, that’s the first hurdle.

There are progressive companies here today, like us, and it’s our job to encourage other businesses to follow suit. We need to make sure Education Institutes are aware of what it requires to successfully get a job after a person completes their studies.”

Amanda Melton, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Board Director for Skills & Technical Education

Inspira, leading career management and personal development business, are instrumental in establishing partnerships between secondary schools and enterprises. Stuart from Inspira discussed the importance of developing inspirational activities that will excite young people.

Stuart Graham, Senior Enterprise Co-ordinator at Inspira said:

“We support 135 schools and colleges across Lancashire, my role is to be that link between education and employers. Hyndburn is a really exciting place, with fantastic businesses but we need young people to understand this, that they don’t need to travel to Manchester or out of the area to have an amazing career. I want to work with these businesses to really get things moving.”

Murray Dawson, Chairman of the #AmazingAccrington initiative closed the event by emphasizing the continued importance of collaboration between local enterprise and Hyndburn’s educational institutions:

“I would like to thank you all for coming together for the benefit of the local youth and economy. Events like this help to ensure the current needs of local employers are fed back to schools and colleges, allowing them to respond with the proper training and education required to ensure aspiring young people gain access to long-term and sustainable careers programmes.

Stuart Graham, Senior Enterprise Co-ordinator at Inspira

We have gained some fantastic insights into how we can work together to ensure continued opportunity in the area, so it’s our job to ensure the local community are aware of this too. Through continued communication between local employers and education, we can help ensure businesses in the area have a skilled workforce and that the local economy continues to thrive!”

The outcome from the Education Summit is a commitment from all parties to a three point action plan, to be implemented over the next 12-months, then reviewed.

For more information about #AmazingAccrington, and to be part of the next Education Summit or Business Leaders meeting visit: