Chamber chief urges business to inform education

Mike Damms, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “There are a million young people out of work and, simultaneously, employers say there is a mismatch between young people’s expectations and the world of work; and that they cannot attract the workforce they want.

“In their different ways, a number of our major local businesses in Blackburn, Burnley and Hyndburn have taken some responsibility to try to start to resolve this paradox,” he said in Chamber View.

“In Blackburn, companies including Graham and Brown have been the driving force in both time and cash behind the Youth Zone which opened this week. It provides opportunities and coaching of life skills for youngsters, many from unpromising backgrounds.

“In Burnley, there is to be a ‘Work Inspiration’ day next month hosted at Aircelle’s factory and is a career fair which will be manned by over 60 local companies.

“The intent is to showcase the various jobs, their attractions (and pay levels) that are available and which are probably not understood by many outside the industries themselves.

“Meanwhile, the first studio school in the country is to be opened in Accrington. While the concept is not without controversy nationally, over 30 local employers have already committed to making it a success.

“We’ve consistently argued that business has to help resolve its own recruitment and skills challenges.”