Dewsbury MP in talks to boost training opportunities for young people

Top-level talks have taken place to boost the training opportunities for young people in the bed manufacturing industry.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 3:05 pm

Kirklees is one of the UK’s leading centres for bed and furniture manufacturing and Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood brought bed firm bosses together with educators at Kirklees College.

Both Mr Eastwood and Marie Gilluley, principal of Kirklees College, have called for stronger ties between the college and furniture and bedding manufacturers.

In a “Let’s Talk Real Skills” round table discussion with Dewsbury furniture heavyweights like Shackletons and Shire Beds, attendees highlighted the importance of developing skills locally and making the industry more attractive to young people.

Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood
Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood

Despite being one of the top furniture and bedding manufacturing hubs in the UK, Kirklees-based manufacturers have often struggled to attract and retain local workers.

Kirklees College believes it has a valuable role to play in upskilling as well as developing apprenticeship and training programmes.

Mr Eastwood said: “The furniture and bedding industry is hugely significant to our local economy. It is becoming increasingly important to ensure that the right skills for the industry can be found locally.”

Fara Butt, sales and marketing director at Shire Beds and a governor at Kirklees College, said: “I welcome the initiative by Mark Eastwood to look at closer partnerships between the education and business sector.

“The shortage of skills, particularly digital skills, requires addressing urgently to ensure businesses innovate and thrive and for the local economy to prosper.”