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Employment and education leaders come together in milestone event

Published: Thursday, February 9, 2017

Representatives from schools and businesses from across Cambridgeshire came together this week to look at the future of skills development in the region.

The ‘Form the Future’ annual conference was held on Tuesday 7 February, marking the biggest local gathering of educators and employers in the Greater Cambridge area.

The event looked to enable education and business leaders to review the last year of activity in driving skills opportunities, and to look forward at how young people can be supported to prepare them for career opportunities in the future.

Attendees heard updates from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the Greater Cambridge City Deal on the progress made as part of the ‘Signpost 2 Skills’ initiative, which is delivered by Form the Future.

They also heard about ‘Cambridge Launchpad’, an initiative led by the Marshall Group to attract more young people into the technology industry and the mentoring scheme by one of its largest corporate supporters, accountancy and consultancy firm, Grant Thornton.

Workshops were then held, to encourage discussion across industry sectors, before the launch of Form the Future’s Recognition programme.

The recognition programme looks to reward individuals or businesses who have made a real contribution toward improving the skills and employment opportunities available to young people in the region.

Awards were given to ‘parters’ and ‘supporters’ who had helped create learning and skills opportunities through a range of initiatives including supporting employability events, providing mentors and partnering with schools. Recipients included partners such as Cambridge University Press, Morgan Sindell and ARM, and supporters such as Cambridge BID, Lloyds and Stansted Airport.

Anne Bailey from Form the Future said, “This was a key event for us, and it was great to see so many influential leaders from the skills and employment world coming together to see how we can work even more effectively to build opportunities for young people.

“We have achieved such a lot in the last year.  Over 12,000 students have attended our events to meet employers since the start of this school year, we’ve placed over 900 students on work experience programmes and have carried out mock interviews with over 1000 students.  Much of this has been achieved through the Signpost 2 Skills initiative, which since its launch in January last year, has enabled us to connect schools and businesses across the region.

“Our conference has enabled us to take stock of our collective achievements and to discuss how we can grow these in 2017. It was also a real pleasure to launch our recognition programme, which helps us to celebrate those making a real impact on the opportunities available for young people in our region.”

Tanya Sheridan, Programme Director of the Greater Cambridge City Deal said, “This was a great event and a celebration of the proactive work going on across a range of industries to support growth in the region.

“The City Deal aims to ensure that Cambridge remains a world leader in skills, education and industry and the Signpost 2 Skills initiative is delivering a wealth of work to make this happen.”

For further information on Form the Future, visit

A range of careers events, training opportunities and apprenticeship scheme developments are planned for 2017. Any business owner looking to get involved is should contact Anne Bailey at Signpost 2 Skills on 01223 781296 or email