Bhubaneswar: A 10-member UK Education and Skills delegation Tuesday showcased their companies’ operations and how their products and services can help Odisha bridge the skills gap and drive the economy forward. The visiting UK companies held focussed meetings with Odisha-based companies looking for education and skills partnerships.

The British Deputy High Commission has organised the visit of delegation to Odisha on 1 August to further strengthen economic links between the UK and Odisha and promote business opportunities for UK-based companies.

The visit of the delegation titled the ‘UK Skills Caravan’ is in response to the state government’s request for information and knowledge about UK expertise in the area of English language skills for primary, ITI and diploma level students. The GoO also sought interaction with UK vocational and technical skill providers especially in areas like healthcare, electrical, and building infrastructure. An area of particular interest for Odisha is ‘training the trainer’ programmes to accelerate skills training.

At an interactive business session with the Odisha Skill Development Authority and representatives of the Odisha government, the visiting UK companies discussed about the possible partnership with Subroto Bagchi, chairman, Odisha Skill Development Authority, Sanjay Kumar Singh, secretary, skill development and technical education,  Rajesh Patil, director, state skill mission and Odisha business representatives.

In a message, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Eastern India,  Bruce Bucknell,  said the UK Skills Caravan was an ideal example of how UK expertise and proven service delivery can play a catalytic role in this vital area.

‘UK vocational skills and training providers have over a hundred years of experience in delivering world class skills to people around the globe. The UK has the capacity to deliver at scale – delivering skills to over 3 million learners a year in the UK alone and to countless more around the globe,‘  he said. Mentioning that developing a more skilled workforce is critical to India’s future development,  Bucknell said he was proud that India is already host to many of the UK’s most experienced and innovative skill development providers. He was hopeful that the visiting UK companies would find business partners and commercial opportunities in Odisha.