THE importance of apprentices to the success of Worcester businesses was stressed at the latest Finditinworcestershire breakfast meeting.

More than 80 business representatives gathered at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium for the ‘Getting the right workforce for the future’ event.

The focus on recruiting, developing and retaining staff with the essential skills for Worcestershire companies coincided with the Worcester News-backed 100 in 100 campaign to recruit 100 companies to take on apprentices in 100 days.

Karen Woodward, regional director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “Apprenticeships bring a broad range of benefits to individual companies, employees and the whole skills base of the local economy. I’m sure that many of the businesses here today could profit from apprenticeship opportunities for years to come.”

Helena Baxter, of the Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Shropshire Training Providers Association, explained the importance of investing in the future workforce and described how apprenticeships work and what services local training organisations provide.

Kathryn Wagstaff, project manager of Finditinworcestershire, said: “Improving skills and training is a key issue for the whole of the county. The success of individual companies depends on the strength and suitability of their staff. At the same time, the whole local economy relies on an appropriately skilled workforce.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring so many employers and training providers together to explore the opportunities. I hope that today’s event will contribute to more apprenticeships, a more appropriately skilled workforce and, in the long term, a helpful boost to a lot of companies and the local economy.”

‘Graduate Placements Through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships’ were explained by Steve Smith from the University of Wolverhampton, while Mike Smith of Sanctuary Group gave a personal perspective about how his organisation had benefited from investing in its workforce.

The networking event gave local employers the chance to speak to training providers face-to-face and find out about how companies and trainers can work together to deliver apprentice opportunities.

The next free Finditinworcestershire breakfast is due to take place on Tuesday, August 16, at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium.