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#AmazingAccrington business leaders, local schools and education providers all came together for the annual Hyndburn Education Summit on Friday 19th May, which was held at Accrington Stanley’s world class hospitality venue, the 1968 Lounge.

In what was an exciting and informative event, #AmazingAccrington welcomed a packed schedule of guest speakers including special guest, Amanda Parker, Lord-Lieutenant Elect.

Also speaking at the event was MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden Sara Britcliffe, #AmazingAccrington Chair Murray Dawson, Sundown Solutions CEO Heath Groves, North Lancs Training Group Managing Director Gareth Lindsay, Accrington & Rossendale College Principal and CEO Lisa O’Loughlin, Accrington Stanley Managing Director David Burgess, as well as representatives from Studio Retail Ltd and Emerson & Renwick.

Headteachers and careers leads heard about the fantastic opportunities available across the borough, as well as exciting campaigns and plans for the future.

A packed 1968 Lounge at the stunning £2.5m hospitality venue heard first from Murray Dawson, Chair of #AmazingAccrington, Managing Director of Scott Dawson Advertising and owner of Peter Scott Printers, who opened with updates on the development of the freight rail project and a potential cyber hub in Accrington town centre.

Next up was MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden, Sara Britcliffe, who gave an update on the Government’s priorities for education, as well as providing more details on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ‘Maths to 18′ plan, upskilling young people.

Special guest Amanda Parker, Lord-Lieutenant Elect, followed with an insight into her background, what her new role will involve and how she plans to support Hyndburn in her new position, with an encouragement to make sure we are involved in King’s Award and Honours programmes.

It was then back to Murray Dawson, who updated visitors on the incredible number of events taking place through #AmazingAccrington in 2023 including the Food & Culture Festival and War Re-Enactment on 3rd June, the famous Soapbox Challenge on 26thAugust, the Futures Event at the Wham Stadium on 5th October and the Christmas Lights Switch On which will take place in Accrington town centre on Thursday 23rdNovember.

Mr Dawson also gave an update on the progression of an exciting project which will see a vintage bus restored following a grant of £94k from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with both North Lancs Training Group and Accrington & Rossendale College involved in the restoration.

He also spoke about the #AmazingAccrington school visits, which regularly sees Hyndburn business leaders visiting local schools to inspire students about the different pathways and opportunities available across the borough.

Following that a fascinating Q&A took place with the panel of guest speakers, with Sundown Solutions, Studio Retail Ltd, Accrington & Rossendale College, North Lancs Training Group, Emerson & Renwick and Accrington Stanley Football Club, all answering questions about the vital roles they play in the borough and how they continue to build on that moving forward.

Sara Britcliffe, MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden, said: “It’s great to see more than 40 representatives from our local schools at today’s Education Summit. Education is a key priority for our Government, and the more we can do to match up education with the real requirements from the business community, the more benefits that will bring to our students.”

Amanda Parker, Lord-Lieutenant Elect, commented: “It’s the first time I’ve been to an Amazing Accrington Education Summit, and it’s very encouraging to see the positivity and collaboration in the room. Today has been a revelation, to see how well engaged the businesses and training providers are, to encourage people to remain in Lancashire. To see this collaborative approach can only be good for Hyndburn and Lancashire. I’m delighted!”

Heath Groves, CEO Sundown Solutions, added: “We work closely with our local schools, including holding workshop weeks for people who might be interested in joining the digital industry, and speaking in schools so they can see what a career in our field might look like. We’ve just become a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider, so this was a great opportunity to let the education sector know they have a global tech company on their doorstep!”

Kate Morgan, Head of Talent at Studio Retail, said: “Great to see so many representatives from our education sector here today, so that we can let them know about the number of diverse opportunities available here at Studio, with large operations in both Church and Clayton le Moors.  Becoming part of the Fraser Group has also opened up opportunities right across the group, for future development of staff.”

Lisa O’Loughlin, Principal and CEO, Nelson and Colne College Group and Accrington & Rossendale College, commented: “We’re keen to let the education sector locally know that we have an OFSTED Outstanding provision right here in Accrington, with further development set to open this year. We’re also encouraging the take up of T Levels and non- traditional educational pathways. As a new Principal, I’m looking forward to strengthening these relationships with our business colleagues.”

Gareth Lindsay, Managing Director, North Lancs Training Group, said: “We work with some fantastic companies locally and further beyond, upskilling existing workforces and allowing them to take on young apprentices to carry on skills that are really needed in industries. We have open vacancies, and always encourage young people to look into apprenticeships to get them into a good career that they’ll love.”

Ben Clements, Managing Director of Emerson & Renwick, added: “We’re a high tech engineering company working on some ground breaking inventions, and it’s really important to us that the local education sector knows what careers we have available right here in Accrington.”

David Burgess, Managing Director, Accrington Stanley Football Club, said: “Accrington Stanley are very keen on giving back to the community and making sure we have a sustainable future for generations to come – and a large part of the future success of Accrington will come from the success of our education system.”

You can see more on opportunities for young people on the purpose built area of the #AmazingAccrington website here: