Barnsley College Principal and Chief Executive elected to CBI regional council

Barnsley College is delighted to announce Principal and Chief Executive Yiannis Koursis has been elected to the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) Yorkshire and Humber regional council.

Following a year as an invited council member with the national business organisation, a CBI ballot of members across the region confirmed his selection to serve a three year term.

Yiannis, who as well as leading the Grade One-rated College is Chair of the South Yorkshire Principals Group, said: “We sit at the heart of our community, welcoming more than 9,500 learners every year. We are also a £40m plus business, working in partnership with thousands of fellow employers. I am thrilled to have been given the chance to continue in this key role with the CBI, helping to influence policies offering vital support and opportunities to the people we represent, enabling us to rise to the challenges presented by the pandemic and climate change and to boost growth and success in our region and beyond.

“Our college is driven by our vision to transform lives and we are crucial to the regional economic development which can benefit all of us. CBI data suggests nine out of ten people in our current workforce will need to upskill or retrain by 2030 and we fully support the recently published Government white paper’s aim to ensure further education is pivotal in working with employers to lead regional and national recovery and create the workforce of the future. We look forward to continue building the number of successful relationships we have with employers, bringing our specialist expertise to enabling real progression not only for our learners, whatever their life stage, but also for our business partners.

“We help partners develop their workforce with new talent through our students and the more than 1,500 apprentices we have with them at any one time. In addition, we deliver professional training to the employees they already have. Our brand new Digital Innovation Hub meanwhile provides a dedicated space for business incubation and innovation.

“With the CBI highlighting a growing shortfall in technology skills as a key factor in the majority of working people needing to upskill or reskill in the coming decades, our Digital Innovation Hub has an important part to play. We are ensuring every one of our students, including those who are already employed, have the chance to gain the technical skills now essential to the world of work and we are helping drive the digital industry, the fastest-growing sector in our region. Digital adoption is a major investment draw and it is set to be transformational in sectors like retail, hospitality and construction who employ millions, often on lower wages.

“We reflect the further and higher education needs of our students from the age of 14 through sixth form and degree level and we are well established in collaborating with employers to shape courses which meet their industry needs, including with the new skills-based T levels which we alone deliver in South Yorkshire. We have already launched Digital, Construction and Education and anticipate we’ll have rolled out a further 22 courses over the coming year.

“There is regional inequality in the UK.  Productivity in London is more than 50% higher than in Yorkshire and Humber and weak productivity growth impacts our standard of living and our wages. But as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we can unite to inform policy and create the momentum we need to boost opportunity and help grow not just a competitive region but a competitive country.

“I am looking forward to continuing to work with the CBI, helping our people and our region go from strength to strength and taking action to shape the decades to come.”

Last updated: 8th February 2021

Originally posted on: 8th February 2021