Agenda and draft minutes

Economic and Skills Development Partnership - Tuesday, 7 February 2023 9.30 am

Venue: Microsoft Teams Meeting. View directions

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

Note No. Item



Welcome, Introductions


The Chairman welcomed members to the Partnership and each made their introductions. 



Action Points from Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 101 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2022 were approved as a correct record.



Business Survey - Presentation of Results pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Mark Yeadon presented summary slides of the BFC/ESDP 2020 Business Surveys undertaken by Public Perspectives.  The final report was to be issued soon and would be made available to businesses.    The slides are attached at Annex 1. 


Mark responded to a number of questions from members.  Notably. there was some concern about the lack of commitment by smaller companies to achieving government’s net-zero target.  Furthermore, the increased energy costs faced by businesses needed to be addressed in order to support them. 


The Partnership was asked to forward any further comments to Chris or Paula who would share them with Mark. 



Chamber of Commerce update - Local Skills Improvement Plan and Skills Challenges pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Additional documents:


Joanna Birrell of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP presented slides on the Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIP) that the Chamber had been commissioned to produce for Berkshire and Oxfordshire.  The University of Reading had been commissioned to undertake an engagement/survey programme for the project.  Chris Mansfield would be sitting on the LSIP Steering Group.  The slides are attached at Annex 2. 


There were a number of questions around the plan, and it was thought that a Microsoft TEAMS meeting would need to be organised to discuss these further.  A 1:1 with Joanna could be arranged if any of the partnership would prefer.

Action: Paula Robertson to share Joanna’s contact details with the Partnership.


It was noted that LSIP should include retail and not just tech skills.  Chris and Paula would be meeting with Joanna to discuss the proposed Apprenticeships Week. 



Digital Infrastructure Group Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Lynne Wilson of West Berkshire Council presented slides on the Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group.  These are attached at Annex 3. 


Discussion was focussed on whether or not 5G was an option that would be commercially viable to local businesses.  It was noted that it wasn’t necessarily speed but reliability which needed to be considered collectively.  Also, that both the speed and connectivity needed to be considered; a generic solution did not therefore work for all and a more specific tailored approach was required for some businesses.



Employment and Skills Sub-Group - Skills and Training Hub Update


Chris Mansfield advised that work was being undertaken by the Council on Supported Internships.  The next step for the development of the Skills and Training hub was to set up a steering group with members from the ESDP. Chris was to email invitations to the initial meeting in March.  As part of the UKSPF a pop up shop initiative was being explored for the town centre.



Infrastructure Sub-Group - Climate Change Update


The Chairman advised that he would share the notes from the latest meeting of the Infrastructure Sub-Group.  The date for the next meeting was to be circulated shortly. 



Economic Development Strategy


Chris Mansfield advised that there had not been a Bracknell Forest Economic Development Strategy in place for over 10 years.  Therefore, it was timely to develop a strategy, with this in mind the procurement process to appoint a consultant to undertake the work had begun.  Chris sought support from the ESDP members to support and be a part of developing the strategy.  Bob Collis confirmed that in principle the ESDP would like to be involved in this and support Chris as required.  Bob mentioned the ESDP were involved in the previous strategy, and welcomed this piece of work.


The date of the next meeting was 6th June 2023.  More information on the time, location and agenda would be made available nearer the time.