The GTA England Annual Conference is once again rapidly approaching

As each year unfolds, we use the conference as an opportunity to reflect on the changing landscape in which we operate and the opportunities this presents for GTA England members. 2014 saw the introduction of Trailblazer standards and GTA England has played its part in supporting the groups in the advanced manufacturing sector, representing a significant proportion of the SMEs that make up 90% of the 24,000 employers in the network. This next year is likely to see change of an even greater magnitude. The Trailblazer machinery continues to produce more Apprenticeship standards – almost core business now! However who would have predicted the Apprenticeship levy this time last year? The ink is still wet on our submission which members and all of their employers were invited to contribute to.

The conference agenda contains an opportunity for genuine consultation, not only on the broad strategic objectives considered by your Board, but with colleagues at BIS on the implementation of the e-voucher that will constitute the transaction of employer choice in new arrangements. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that the theme of this years conference is “Meeting the Challenge of Change Together”.

A personal highlight is likely to be the presentation of the GTA England Apprenticeship Awards following its hugely successful introduction last year.

As the GTA network, we need to continue to demonstrate to government, its agencies, and other key stakeholders at local and regional level why GTAs are distinctive and offer a tried and tested employer-led solution to workforce skills development issues that include, but are not exclusive to, Apprenticeships.

I would like to thank colleagues at the IMechE for their hospitality in supporting our conference and look forward to developing a continued partnership.

I remain grateful for the partnerships established with EAL, WNT and XYZ machine tools and welcome a new arrangement with City & Guilds with even more to come! These partnerships continue to be based on mutual benefits for both partners and members.

The GTA England Board looks forward to seeing you there to celebrate this years achievements and to working together towards an even stronger future.

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