New recruits to strengthen college links with business community

A Tyneside college has hired two new recruits to its business development team as it looks to widen the regional skills base with local employers.

Elaine Murray and Melanie Thompson-Glen have joined Gateshead College as business development managers to increase the number of people in the team to seven.

Elaine, who previously spent more than a decade at Sunderland housing group Gentoo, has extensive experience of delivering innovative campaigns that build partnerships between employers, local business and the wider community.

Meanwhile, Melanie has spent much of her career helping small to medium-sized firms grow and develop their business. Previously an international trade advisor for UKTI North East, she ran a business consultancy for five years and has a proven track record of helping organisations deliver enterprise training and rural regeneration projects.

The appointments are part of the college’s strategy of forging deeper links with the business community to improve skills in the region. Melanie and Elaine will be available to help companies prepare for the apprenticeship levy, which comes into force this April, along with other changes to government policy on skills.

Ivan Jepson, who joined the college as business development director last year, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Melanie and Elaine to our team. Both have a sound understanding of the local business landscape and their considerable expertise and impressive network of contacts will be of great benefit to the employers we work with.

“We will continue to develop relationships with local companies to understand their skills needs and deliver the talent they require to grow their business. Some sectors are still battling to overcome significant skills shortages and only through relevant training and workforce development programmes can this challenge be met successfully.”

Gateshead College has a long history of helping companies to improve the skills base of their workforce. Recently the organisation secured £15m from the European Social Fund through the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), with two thirds of this money earmarked for workforce development programmes that address skills needs in sectors deemed vital to the region’s future economic growth.

The remaining £5m will be used for schemes that help unemployed people get back into work or training.

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