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Festival places region’s education and skills in the business spotlight

Education and skills are being brought to the forefront of the local business community during the Leicester Business Festival (LBF) from 29 October to 9 November.

Research has indicated that in order to better serve business in the area, improvements could be made to make the local education and skills offer. This includes addressing the mismatch of skills, improving the amount of people with higher level and technical qualifications and increasing the amount of apprenticeships.

The Leicester Business Festival presents a great opportunity to bring some of these issues to the forefront of the business community and challenge these aspects on a national scale.

Initiatives such as the Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN), delivered by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) was set up to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work, by linking business and employer volunteers with local schools and colleges. The LLEP’s event, ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ on Wednesday 31 October, will be advising businesses on how to benefit from working directly with local schools and colleges though the EAN to become an ‘employer of choice’ and innovatively solve skills and recruitment problems.

The region benefits from a good choice of schools and private training providers, a strong Further Education sector and three excellent universities: De Montfort University, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

Combined, the universities bring 15,000 new skilled graduates into the work place every year and play a key role in the economy by attracting thousands of domestic and foreign students into the area, ultimately creating a skilled, educated ‘workforce of tomorrow’.

The universities also provide comprehensive research and development facilities for businesses and high-level industry engagement programmes in a wide array of subjects. It is crucial that the engagement between businesses and universities continue to develop to help students and businesses prosper, and the economy to grow.

Professor Dana Brown (pictured left) principal, Leicester Castle Business School and pro vice-chancellor/dean of the Faculty of Business and Law is the Business Festival sector lead for Education and Skills. She said, "Whether it is providing employers with high-calibre graduates and apprentices, helping to retain graduate talent or training existing managers and leaders, education lays the foundation for economic success.

“Leicester Business Festival celebrates the strong partnerships forged between businesses and our schools, colleges and universities. Now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that Leicestershire businesses can respond positively to the challenges of a post-Brexit world.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity for us all to share ideas, learn from each other and ensure Leicestershire remains an innovative, exciting place to do business.”

Other LBF events in the sector include a specialist skills event for the automotive industry at the brand new £9.5m MIRA Technology Institute near Hinckley on Thursday 8 November. The event is aimed at automotive employers who may be looking to upskill their employees, or require training and conference facilities to hire.

Once again, De Montfort University is running a two-day graduate recruitment and placement fair at The Venue on 30 and 31 October; Leicester University has a talent match event on 6 November, allowing employers to showcase job opportunities available to students and graduates; and the LLEP’s Careers Speed Networking event is also taking place again on 9 November.

All tickets are free but must be booked in advance through the website: or via the new LBF App – free to download through Google Play or the Apple Store.

Along with headline partners, Leicester Castle Business School, the 2018 Leicester Business Festival has the support of well-known business organisations including East Midlands Chamber; LLEP Business Gateway; East Midlands Airport; Brewin Dolphin; University of Leicester School of Business; Highcross Leicester; Shakespeare Martineau; and the FSB.

Other supporters include Everards Brewery; De Montfort University; Pattersons Commercial Law; Growth Partners PLC and the Institute of Directors, as well as official app partner Infonote; AV media partner, The Presentation Group; Coffee partner, 200 degrees; and media partners, Cross Productions and Capital Radio.

For more information, visit, contact or call 0116 464 5995.

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