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Ipswich Forum

The Ipswich forum allows Chamber members in the area to come together and discuss local opportunities and issues.

Responding to employers' needs

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce's Ipswich Forum met at Suffolk New College to find out how the college is using it share of the £ 4.7 million Local Skills Improvement Fund awarded to Suffolk and Norfolk.

Members were briefed about how the college has responded to employers' skills needs, which were set out in the Local Skills Improvement Plan prepared by Suffolk and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce. Initiatives include introducing ePASS+, a digital platform designed to focus on crucial soft skills, teaching digital skills in all subject areas, well advanced plans for a regional digital skills passport and bite sized courses.

Members also shared some of the skills challenges they are facing and the actions they are taking to address the challenges.

Paul Copsey, Commercial Director of Auditel, who chaired the meeting said 'It was really good to find out how Suffolk New College is working with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to shape training courses to meet employers' needs. It was also good to hear from employers about the importance that they place on training and retaining staff'.


Mike Bowden Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Cory Brothers and Chair of Suffolk Chamber in Ipswich welcomed Chamber members and guests to the Innovation labs at the University of Suffolk Waterfront Campus.

Ipswich Borough Council Leader Neil MacDonald introduced us to the new Ipswich Borough Council Corporate Strategy which sets outs the council’s priorities.

Ipswich Borough Council Chief Executive Helen Pluck then set out plans for an Ipswich inward investment strategy which will be designed to attract new businesses and investors to Ipswich and grow existing Ipswich businesses, with the aim of bringing new and better jobs into Ipswich.

Chamber members were asked about thoughts on what would make Ipswich a better place for business and there was an interesting discussion around this question.  Helen’s contact details may be found on the presentation.

Chief Inspector Matt Breeze set out Suffolk Constabulary’s policing priorities for Ipswich, reminding us that although Suffolk and Ipswich have their issues, they remain very low crime areas in the national context.

Chamber members felt that although crimes rates in Ipswich may be relatively low, fear of crime was an issue.

Toby Warren, Senior Policy Officer at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce gave a presentation about Social Value and its importance for Suffolk businesses.  

Please let us know by email your thoughts and suggestions for future Ipswich forum meetings. We welcome suggestions about venues, topics and times for meetings.


Proud of Ipswich - Helen Pluck and Cllr Neil MacDonald

Social Value - Toby Warren

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce members in Ipswich have given their views about how they can support the work of the Ipswich Vision Board at a meeting with David Ralph, the new chair of the Vision Board.

David told the meeting that Ipswich is already a great place to live and work but he recognises that there is still much to be done to make Ipswich even better. His first priority will be to make sure that the Town Investment Plan projects that have been offered Government funding are progressed, as this will help to create confidence that Ipswich is changing for the better.

Chamber members agreed that it’s important that businesses help to change perceptions of Ipswich so that more people want to work in Ipswich and it attracts more visitors. Members felt it was particularly important that students see Ipswich as a great place to study and work.

Paul Copsey, Chair of the Suffolk Chamber in Ipswich Forum said 'It’s great that David has a clear focus on what needs to be done to transform Ipswich'.

David said 'Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has a key role to play in making Ipswich a place that more people want to live in, work in and visit. I look forward to working with Chamber members to build on what Ipswich already has to offer'.

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