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Micro Focus director Sarah joins LEP skills strategy body

Health authority manager also appointed to group tasked with addressing the region’s needs

Micro Focus director Sarah joins LEP skills strategy body

Two highly-knowledgeable leaders have been appointed to Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills, Education and Employment (SEE) Strategy Group.

The group provides direction and strategic support for the delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan, to address key local skills challenges.

Sarah Atkinson is corporate social responsibility director at FTSE 100 Micro Focus, headquartered in Newbury.

She is also a trustee at Berkshire Youth, a charity that works to support and inspire young people.

She said of her new position on the strategy group: “There is a war for talent and engaging under-represented groups such as women and minorities is critical to help address the skills gap.

“I’m looking forward to working together to help our local population build the right skills, in fields from AI to cyber security, and to target underrepresented talent through sector specific projects, outreach activities and the removal of barriers to work.

“A good tech skills foundation is key, and everyone has a role to play in that.”

Berkshire West NHS workforce development manager Maggie Neale has also been appointed to the strategy group.

She said: “Skills are an important issue in the healthcare sector right now.

“Without a skilled and motivated workforce, healthcare care providers will struggle to continue to provide the excellent care that we all expect.

“I want to use my role on the strategy group to help equip young people with the right skills to help create a more prosperous future for Berkshire.

“I also want to inspire them that healthcare can be a fantastic and rewarding career to pursue.”

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has invested an additional £3.1m of Local Growth Funds to support skills capital projects as part of its Growth Deal with Government.

The projects include a new purpose-built university centre at Newbury College to address the higher-level skill requirements of key sectors, including digital technologies, business and finance, engineering, health and social care and construction.

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