Published: 06:00, 05 June 2014 |
Updated: 10:32, 05 June 2014
Business ambassador Lord Digby Jones called on companies to get involved in schools if they want skilled employees to help them grow.
The former CBI director general and trade minister told more than 200 bosses at the first Swale Regeneration Conference they are key to generating wealth in Kent but cannot do it without staff up to the job.
Lord Jones was part of a wide ranging programme of speakers at the Coniston Hotel, Sittingbourne, who spoke about future plans for the area.
The programme also included Business Minister Michael Fallon and Cathedral Group chief executive Richard Upton, who leads the Spirit of Sittingbourne consortium behind regeneration plans for the town centre.
Lord Jones said: “If you ask any businesswoman or man in Swale ‘what’s your one big constraint?’ it won’t be the road or online retail – although they are important.
“It is actually that they cannot get enough skilled people. We need an education system that is fit for purpose and capable of pushing people out who can read, write, count and operate a computer.
“Do that and at least we start ahead of the game.”
Sevenoaks MP Mr Fallon spoke of giving more power to local authorities and said he would look into giving relief to commerical property developers in the same way the government has stimulated the residential market.
He said: “The pair are not mutually exclusive. We need residiential development and clearly commercial property took a hit during the depth of the recession.
“Whether we can do more to stimulate further property development is a good question and I would like to think on it.”
Sittingbourne’s town centre regeneration plans were on display and attendees visited seminars on how to grow their companies.
Delegates also got to sample local produce at a Made in Swale stand, while many exhibitors from key commercial sites in the borough showed what their business can offer.
Swale Borough Council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles said: “With all the investment opportunities in the borough, this has really helped us to put Swale on the map.”
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.