In anticipation of the International Festival of Glass to be held in Stourbridge, Margot James has written to Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, in support of the British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation’s bid for a new Glass Academy.
The new Glass Academy would take ownership of training and skills development of the glass industry in the UK by offering recognised qualifications such as GCSEs, NVQs, apprenticeships and degrees. It would also target 16-18 year-old school-leavers by offering an alternative to High Education, as well as engage with schools, colleges and universities at every stage of the education process.
Margot said, “Glass has enjoyed a long and fruitful history in Stourbridge, which is consistently recognised as producing some of the finest glass in the world. Although the glass industry is far from the employer it once was, a thriving glass design business lives on locally and offers employment opportunities to a highly skilled workforce. However in 2010, only 5% of science, engineering and technology graduates entered manufacturing. We need to reverse that trend by ensuring that the best people are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge so as to drive the industry forward. That is why I am delighted to be supporting the Confederation’s bid for a new Glass Academy, which would benefit not just Stourbridge, but the UK and manufacturing as a whole.”
Dave Dalton, CEO of the British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation said, “We are delighted to have received the whole hearted backing of Margot James in our bid for funding under the UKCES/BIS “Employer Ownership of Skills” programme, by writing to Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable in support of our application. The Glass Academy we are proposing is a well thought out and clever way of developing skills and talent within the sector, attracting school and college leavers into manufacturing businesses and providing a platform to raise the bar for existing employees to improve UK output to world-class standards, which, in turn will lead to further opportunities for employment. We, at the British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation, as the industry’s trade body and lead organisation in the bid, remain optimistic of a positive outcome.”