Opinion: An exciting summer for business

Nelson and Colne College principal Amanda Melton discusses education's role in achieving the Lancashire Growth Plan.

Amanda Melton Nelson CollegeThis college continues to deliver exceptional results with another record-breaking year of 61% A*-B grades for A Level.

However, the real challenge remains in ensuring that our part in the talent development journey is delivering the right skills for employers and realistic career expectations for students.

This summer, we moved a step forward in linking employers to the training and skills of young people, when we opened the Apprenticeship and Skills Shop in the heart of Nelson.

This is a pilot project advertising apprenticeship and job vacancies, providing initial assessment and interview services and delivering training to fill the skills gaps.

As the Skills Board of the Lancashire LEP embarks on an analysis of the skill development requirement to support the Lancashire Growth Plan, there couldn't be a more opportune time to link employer demand for skills with talent development.

It's a complex issue. Priorities in schools are firmly, and correctly in my view, on ensuring school leavers have the essential building blocks to enable them to enter apprenticeships and college courses successfully.

Development of excellent information, advice and guidance linked to economic development is, to quote a highly successful Lancashire headteacher, 'not in my top 100' priorities when ensuring pupils leave school with the knowledge and qualifications which guarantee progression.

The challenge is to ensure pupils don't start down the wrong path at an early stage, unaware of realistic opportunities for career development or the fast-developing job market, particularly when degree courses demand high fees and don't always guarantee career success. Amanda Melton Principal and chief executive Nelson and Colne College