A specialist in the Further Education sector has joined the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to drive forward its skills strategy.
Gemma Gathercole has been appointed Productivity and Skills Executive Officer to encourage closer working between education and employers, helping the unemployed to develop skills which businesses need and overcoming the skills gaps and shortages to drive growth and create jobs.
The 34-year-old was previously Head of Funding and Assessment at Lsect Ltd in London which delivers workshops and conferences in the Further Education sector.
She has also spent 12 years at qualifications awarding body OCR which is based at Westwood Business Park in Coventry where she was promoted to Head of Policy – Further Education and Funding which involved lobbying government, networking and providing strategic analysis.
Gemma said those skills would be instrumental in her new role at the CWLEP.
“I have spent most of my career in the Further Education sector and I have done a great deal of networking to get to know the key players and how it relates to the skills needs of employers and local authorities,” she said.
“I have spent the last four years influencing and informing Further Education policy as it changes so I have a good understanding about how all the pieces fit together.
“In my new position, I will be working and supporting Further Education colleges and businesses in the region to deliver on the CWLEP’s skills strategy.
“From those conversations, we want to provide the right opportunities for colleges to equip students with the skills which employers need which in turn will help employers reduce the skills gap by developing a pipeline of talent.”
The former University of Birmingham student, who graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Political Science, said she was looking forward to meeting the members of the CWLEP’s Productivity and Skills Business Group.
She added: “The work of the Business Group has an important role to play in developing the CWLEP’s skills strategy.
“I’m looking forward to working on the detail and to move the strategy forward quickly to deliver our objectives.”
Paula Deas, Operations Director at the CWLEP, said skills was one of the CWLEP’s key priorities and Gemma would be a valuable addition to the organisation.
“I am delighted to welcome Gemma to the CWLEP and her experience in the Further Education sector particularly in dealing with funding, policies and qualifications will be invaluable in working with the six Further Education colleges in the area as well as businesses,” she said.
“Gemma will have a vital role to play in shaping and delivering our strategy to turn our aims into reality and help employers recruit the employees they need to strengthen their businesses which, in turn, grows our economy.”
Caption: Gemma Gathercole who has been appointed Productivity and Skills Executive Officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership