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Councillors put political differences aside for visit to Burntwood vocational training centre

A centre in Burntwood designed to offer vocational training for young people has been given the thumbs up by county councillors from both sides of the political divide.

Labour’s Sue Woodward joined Ben Adams, Staffordshire’s Conservative Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, for a visit to the £2.5million Lichfield and Burntwood Vocational Centre.

Cllr Ben Adams and Cllr Sue Woodward at the Lichfield and Burntwood Vocational Centre

Cllr Ben Adams and Cllr Sue Woodward at the Lichfield and Burntwood Vocational Centre

The facility, adjacent to Chase Terrace Technology College, was only built in 2011 but has already had to increase its activity after changes to how it is funded.

“I visited the centre in July and was concerned to hear about the pressures they are under and to see that its use is not being maximised,” Cllr Woodward said. “It’s a fantastic facility and potentially a real boost to the local economy in Burntwood and beyond, but changes made by national Government since 2010 – both in funding arrangements and in the status of vocational qualifications – have brought huge challenges to the Partnership Board which oversees the centre.

“I asked Ben to come and visit with me as we both want to see a thriving skills training sector for the benefit of Staffordshire and to make sure the Burntwood venue is part of this wider strategic vision.”

The Partnership Board for the Skills Centre is made up of representatives of all of the District’s high schools and their training provider, South Staffs College.

The two councillors met the King Edward VI headteacher Kevin Maycock, Chase Terrace Technology College head Stuart Jones and the centre’s manager Emily Shaw to discuss the challenges.

“There are tremendous job opportunities across Staffordshire open to people with technical and engineering skills and the county council is determined to help local people to take advantage of these,” said Cllr Adams.

“It was very helpful to meet with Cllr Woodward and local headteachers who share my ambition to raise the profile of vocational education and to make best use of the excellent facilities we have.

“With this level of enthusiasm and willingness to work together I am confident we can establish an affordable way of delivering great vocational training that is fit for the future.”

The two County Councillors will meet the Partnership Board again in November to discuss progress.

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