Latest News

Latest Updates From Surrey Chambers CEO – May 2023

2nd May 2023


The Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) has reached a milestone where we have consolidated our key findings into a number of priority themes that will form the basis of the LSIP report, which will be submitted for approval to the Secretary of State for Education at the end of May.  The question we have been grappling with is: What is needed to make technical education and skills provision more responsive to the changing needs of employers and the local economy? 

We have identified a number of priorities that, if addressed, could have a really positive impact on closing skills gaps in the area.

One overriding theme has been the importance of cross-cutting skills that are required across all sectors. We have grouped these into three categories: Employability (soft) skills, Digital skills and Professional skills. The detail behind these crosscutting skills will help to better prepare people for the workforce as well as enhance the skills of those already in the workforce.

Business feedback

As part of our national Chamber network, we have just completed our latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook (QRO), a survey of more than 5,000 UK firms of all sectors and sizes which reveals, as expected, that businesses are still facing record high difficulties in hiring new staff. 80% of businesses surveyed (92% of whom are small and medium) attempting to recruit have faced challenges. While recruitment difficulties are being experienced across the economy, firms in the hospitality and manufacturing sectors were the most likely to report recruitment difficulties (83% in each sector). This is closely followed by the construction and engineering sector (81%) and then professional services; and public, education, health sector on 79%. These are all incredibly high numbers, and we are certainly seeing this borne out with local businesses.

Biggest Business Expo in Surrey!

The Surrey Business Expo which took place last month was a great success. As well as meeting up with many of our members and potential members we delivered a great Seminar programme that covered a number of “people” topics. We heard from local businesses, training providers and other business advisors and there was rich discussion in every session. In spite of all the challenges that are posed to the businesses of Surrey there is an amazing can-do attitude, which was demonstrated within our interactive seminars.

Surrey Business Awards

Entries have been coming in for the Surrey Business Awards, which celebrate the best innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs in the county. The awards recognise the achievements of all kinds of businesses, large and small, across different sectors in Surrey. It is THE business event in the county with a huge reach and enviable reputation. Make sure you get your entries in by June 14th. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner on the 17th October at G Live, Guildford.

British Chambers Global Annual Conference

Our theme for 2023 is Building British Business. This full day conference will be an opportunity for business leaders from across the UK, and the globe, to come together to discuss the opportunities for growth to help local communities thrive. We have a high-profile group of speakers including our National President, Baroness Martha Lane Fox. Martha has been doing a great job over the last seven days representing all of our businesses to the government. She has reiterated the messages we have received from our quarterly survey and was also with a group of Chambers hearing our local stories, which she was then able to share. It has never been more important for the government to listen to the businesses on the ground and we are very happy to provide that intel.