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Skillshub Cumbria at Lakes College officially opened

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  • News date: Jul '22
  • News author: Liam Waite

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A NEW centre designed to put employers at the heart of education and training in Cumbria has officially opened.

Skillshub Cumbria at Lakes College was opened on Thursday, June 30, with Jo Lappin, chief executive at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, and Suzanne Caldwell, managing director at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, cutting the ribbon.

The centre will offer a professional meeting place for local and national employers and apprentices, with uses ranging from a hub for small and one-to-one business meetings to a comfortable place to work on accounts or planning applications.

The opening was part of the wider Skillshub Cumbria project, a collaboration between Carlisle College, Furness College, Kendal College, Lakes College and the University of Cumbria which aims to ensure that there is a healthy supply of workers meeting Cumbria’s skills needs.

Chris Nattress, principal at Lakes College, said: “We are developing as much as we can to align to business needs in Cumbria.

“We want to develop apprenticeships, we want to develop commercial responses, we want to be as flexible and responsive as we can possibly be to what industry need is in the world around us.

“In some cases that’s a couple of apprentices relatively quickly for a business need they have, in other cases it might be a long-term investment in your strategic skilled labour force.

“It’s a great time to be in the world of skills and be an employer that’s looking for skilled people in Cumbria because there’s a pan-Cumbrian approach which is designed to help engage you.”

The five education and training providers serve hundreds of local and national employers, and thousands of students and apprentices, and have pledged to work together to develop high-quality solutions to skill shortages through courses, training and apprenticeships.

To achieve that goal, the partners intend to put businesses at the heart of shaping their offering to maximise the potential of every student and apprentice and make sure learners are work-ready.

First-class facilities – like the National College for Nuclear and Civil Engineering Training Centre at Lakes College – will also be highlighted for their potential to provide the perfect training environment.

Jo Lappin said: “The thing that has delighted me about this hub is that it is absolutely business focused.

“What this facility does is bring businesses into education, which is the next step in linking business and education.

“It provides space to help businesses to articulate their needs and receive the right expert skills advice.

“Relationships are critical and this is very much a place to build them, with businesses being able to make it clear what they need, what is working and what might be done differently.

“Importantly, the project has been built on consultation, delivered collaboratively, with a clarity of vision and ambition and the necessary competence to make it happen at pace.”

The project has already involved Lakes College engaging more than 300 employers in training needs analysis, information and guidance, and knowledge sharing, and suites of masterclasses have also been developed.

Suzanne Caldwell added: “This is a great facility and it is going to make a real difference to businesses.

“What we all need to do now is really get behind it, help it and use it.”

A website has been also launched to highlight how the five partners are working together and promote the education and training offering across the county.

Any businesses which want to book Skillshub at Lakes College, can call 01946 839300 or email

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