It’s time to skill up or ship out

Nancy Fielder editor of Sheffield Telegraph
Nancy Fielder editor of Sheffield Telegraph
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Sheffielders need better and more specific skills.

As our region grows it is clear that is exactly what investors will be looking at as they decide whether to settle and employ here.

There are some really big business names who look likely to set up home in Sheffield in coming months – but there are also others who don’t see our area as right for them.

There are many reasons behind that but something we can and must tackle is making sure we have the right skills to attract more jobs.

We owe it to ourselves more than anything.

We need to look at our children and what their options really are – rather than just assuming A-Levels and university are the best path for everyone.

Of course, that is right for some but it is also setting others up to fail unnecessary.

Just one example – we need to make sure our girls think engineering might be an option for them. After all our Women of Steel show that we have a proud history of challenging gender stereotypes.

We need to make sure Sheffielders’ options aren’t limited by their colour, gender or where in the city they were born.

So our schools and colleges must work with business to give teenagers a real view of the real world.

That is why today we invited Sheffield College’s chief executive Paul Corcoran to give his take on how we up-skill a city.

That is also why we will be talking about apprentices and how we balance Sheffield’s painfully unfair education inequalities throughout 2017.

We all know that your life chances are better if you can afford a house in certain parts of the city and have parents who fight to get you into one of the ‘better’ schools.

That has been the case since I was a child and while it isn’t unique to Sheffield, it is particularly clear here.

Most of all we need to work together – as educators, employers, families and individuals to make sure our people are able to do good jobs right here in their own city. Looking at the issues that really matter and asking the experts for their take on our city’s battles is exactly what your Telegraph will keep doing this year.

We want to give you a platform to make your opinion heard and we want to shine a spotlight on the issues that really matter.

So what should we be campaigning on in 2017?

Email me with your opinions and suggestions at nancy.fielder@jpress.co.uk or write to Nancy Fielder, Editor, Sheffield Telegraph, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU.