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The Corporation

Posted: 22/11/16

Studio school welcomes business leader on board

A Mansfield school that bridges the gap between education and employment has welcomed prominent business figure Scott Knowles to its governing body.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles has joined Vision Studio School’s governing body.

Mr Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, the region’s leading business organisation, is the latest addition to the board of governors of Vision Studio School.

A new type of school for 14 to 19-year-olds, the school on Chesterfield Road South offers a specially-tailored curriculum that combines academic subjects with vocational specialisms linked to local employment opportunities.

Smaller than most schools, it currently has 150 students who study either engineering or health and social care, taught through project-based learning and work placements with employers. The studio school has more than 170 employer partners, ranging from small businesses to major organisations, who support it in various ways; from setting students work-related exercises, giving talks and masterclasses, and providing regular placements.

Sponsored by West Nottinghamshire College, it is the only studio school in Nottinghamshire, and one of just 39 across the country.

Mr Knowles said he was excited about the role and looked forward to further strengthening links between business and commerce, for the benefit of students.

He said: “The chamber has been working closely with education for a number of years to find ways of bridging the skills gap – in particular, the difference between what school, college and university-leavers can offer employers, and what those employers need from young recruits.

“It is essential for business and education – both academic and vocational – to continue to work together as closely as possible to close this gap completely.

“To that end, I’m delighted to have the chance to sit on the studio school’s board of governors and be able to gather first-hand knowledge of the educational perspective while contributing the business viewpoint to the debate, in order to knit together some of the strands from both sides of the discussion.”

Greeting his appointment, chair of governors Dame Asha Khemka said: “It is an honour to welcome somebody of Scott’s calibre to the school’s governing body. He brings a wealth of business experience and is ideally-placed to provide the employers’ voice to what we’re trying to achieve, so his appointment represents a major coup.”

The studio school’s principal, Chris Hatherall, said: “Scott has a clear passion and determination for helping young people succeed and he will be a great role model for students to look up to and connect with.

“Our students, and the school community as a whole, can only benefit from his extensive employer networks and unique insight into business and commerce, which will enable us to continue to tailor our curriculum to meet workforce demand.”

Mr Knowles joined East Midlands Chamber in 1999 and managed multiple initiatives including capital infrastructure projects and programmes to support the creation of new businesses and boost access to finance. He was appointed to his current position in September 2015, having previously been deputy chief executive.

Business and commerce is well-represented on Vision Studio School’s governing body, whose governors include Malcolm Hall MBE, owner and founder of multi-award winning Mansfield firm Hall Fast Industrial Supplies, and Martin Rigley MBE, managing director of successful Sutton-in-Ashfield company Lindhurst Engineering.