Matt and Andy Smith

A special Skills Showcase will highlight more than £1million of funding available to boost skills and training across Telford & Wrekin.

The event on September 20th – being staged by Telford & Wrekin Council at the New Bucks Head – will feature a headline presentation by an inspirational business founder who uses his life in the care system and success as an entrepreneur to deliver motivational business advice and training.

Guest speaker Andy Smith – who founded award-winning Smash Life with his brother Matt to deliver bespoke training, mentoring, group work and inspirational talks ­– will talk about ways businesses can attract young people from all backgrounds and how to develop a culture that works for your business to retain and invest in the right people.

Andy said he was delighted to be taking part in what he described as a ‘hugely important’ event.


“We know through our work at Smash Life that it is critical that businesses know just what support is out there and that we develop the skills of youngsters from all backgrounds in a way which is good for them and for their future employers.

“Events such as this can make a real difference in shining the spotlight on the training, opportunities and support available and help Telford and all its businesses continue to deliver the skills needed for the modern world of work.”

The event is bringing together employers, training providers and business support experts to deliver a comprehensive picture of the skills and training support now available to businesses in the borough.

Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Visitor Economy, said the event was a must-visit for any businesses which wanted help and advice on how to develop its workforce’s skills.

“There is a huge amount of help and support available in the borough as well as more than £1million in funds to help ensure skills meet the needs of our companies.

“The event will help employers find out just what support they can access – such as the apprenticeship levy transfer from the Council now in place which means we are able to transfer funds for new recruits or existing staff to develop their skills – and is aimed at employers in the borough who want to build for the future.”

The event – part of the Thrive Telford business support programme, funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – starts at 8.30am and includes a range of speakers and presentations.

Telford & Wrekin Council’s Invest Telford team will highlight its Skills for Growth which aims to help businesses struggling with workforce development challenges, as well as update employers on existing schemes available to support them.  There will also be a presentation about the new Digital Skills & Enterprise Hub being built in the Town Centre at Station Quarter.

Nahara Hanson, HR manager of car dealership Greenhous, will detail how the apprenticeship levy can help businesses give youngsters their first step on the careers ladder and the results her own company has achieved through it.

Matt Lowe of Shropshire Chamber will outline the findings from the first phase of its Local Skills Improvement Plan project – designed to gain a better understanding of the area’s skills and training requirements – and local training providers will feature in a special showcase throughout the event.

Event compere Amy Bould – managing director of leading communications agency Be Bold Media – will also oversee a question and answer session with a panel of experts including Andy Smith, Matt Lowe and Louise Harding, the council’s business advisor for forward investment and business support.