Business network is getting stronger

Professor Roy Sandbach, Jacqui Henderson, Kate Dawson, Stuart Cutforth.
Professor Roy Sandbach, Jacqui Henderson, Kate Dawson, Stuart Cutforth.

More than 60 organisations joined Northumberland College at a meeting of its Employment and Skills Forum last week.

The forum was launched last October as part of the college’s Strategic Partnership Strategy and follows the government’s Business Innovation and Skills department’s decision for the north east to become one of three regional pilots.

The initiative has seven advisory groups now established for priority industry sectors, including groups for construction, engineering, land-based, IT and business, leisure, creative and life sciences.

David Goldman, visiting professor of innovation and enterprise at Newcastle University, said: “Innovation requires us to match what’s needed, with what’s possible.

“To do this we need to establish brilliant, dynamic networks, so it’s great to see the forum network going from strength to strength.”

The forum welcomes members from business and community organisations who may join its specialist advisory groups.

This latest event was chaired by Jacqui Henderson, chair of governors at the college, and included speeches from Peter McIntyre, managing director of Arch, the Northumberland development company, who focused on regeneration and the development of strategic enterprise zones to support businesses and communities across Northumberland.

Chair of governors Jacqui Henderson said: “The forum aims to create even stronger partnerships for the college and businesses in the region and facilitate a strong sense of innovation and enterprise by supporting them through a range of skills and business requirements especially in apprenticeships and workforce development.”

Stuart Cutforth, principal and chief executive at Northumberland College, added: “We want our students to succeed and develop in sustained employment, so the forum aims to benefit our students and the local economy by matching training provision with local skills needs.”

To find out more about the Northumberland College Employment and Skills Forum or to become a member, go online at