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Initiative will hope to showcase Thetford’s thriving industries to attract more to the town

PUBLISHED: 16:07 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 13 March 2018

The launch of the Thetford Business Forum's roadshow to promote the town's industry. Thetford Business Forum chairman Chris Kennard  and event organiser Valerie Watson-Brown. Picture: Danny Hewitt

The launch of the Thetford Business Forum's roadshow to promote the town's industry. Thetford Business Forum chairman Chris Kennard and event organiser Valerie Watson-Brown. Picture: Danny Hewitt

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A new initiative has been launched to highlight the thriving industries in Thetford and the surrounding area.

The Thetford Business Forum's roadshow launch event at West Suffolk College. The roadshow will help promote the variety of firms in Thetford. Picture: Danny HewittThe Thetford Business Forum's roadshow launch event at West Suffolk College. The roadshow will help promote the variety of firms in Thetford. Picture: Danny Hewitt

The Thetford Business Forum (TBF) Roadshow hopes to reach out to potential employers, employees and investors and attract them into the town.

Valerie Watson-Brown from the forum said Thetford’s industry is one of its “best kept secrets” and strengths.

The focus will be on seven of the strongest sectors,; agriculture, conservation and equine; pharmaceuticals; tourism, retail and hospitality; creative, tech industries; warehousing and logistics, and engineering and manufacturing.

The roadshow can be rolled out in any city and town and if a TBF’s member attends a separate event, posters and podiums can be taken along to promote the town.

The Thetford Business Forum's roadshow launch event at West Suffolk College. Pictured are college students who last month spent two weeks on work experience with businesses in Thetford. Jacob Tattersall, Ben Jagger, Pollie Nuttall, Robert Korzeniowski, Nathaniel Eatenton, Joshan Lally and Diogo Pacheco. Picture: Danny Hewitt.The Thetford Business Forum's roadshow launch event at West Suffolk College. Pictured are college students who last month spent two weeks on work experience with businesses in Thetford. Jacob Tattersall, Ben Jagger, Pollie Nuttall, Robert Korzeniowski, Nathaniel Eatenton, Joshan Lally and Diogo Pacheco. Picture: Danny Hewitt.

Mrs Watson-Brown said: “The main objectives are to encourage inward investment, for businesses to relocate to Thetford and to educate future employees that there is an opportunity to work in the town.

She added: “Thetford has an amazing business community with many market leaders based in and around the town.”

The business forum, which is also celebrating its 10th year held the launch event at the West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds, on Tuesday.

It has rebranded itself with a new logo and a video promoting the 80 business members will be released soon.

The Thetford Business Forum's roadshow launch event at West Suffolk College. The roadshow will help promote the variety of firms in Thetford. Picture: Danny HewittThe Thetford Business Forum's roadshow launch event at West Suffolk College. The roadshow will help promote the variety of firms in Thetford. Picture: Danny Hewitt

The project has been funded through the Place 21 scheme from European funding.

As part of this 52 students from the college were placed in 20 businesses throughout Thetford over a two week period last month.

Under the initiative, students are matched with employers to allow them to gain knowledge of industry types and the variety of work on offer within.

Student Diogo Pacheco, from Thetford, was offered a job after his placement at Thetford Garden Centre.

West Suffolk College student Diogo Pacheco, from Thetford, who has been offered a job at Thetford Garden Centre following a successful work experience placement organsed by the college and the Thetford Business Forum. Picture: Danny HewittWest Suffolk College student Diogo Pacheco, from Thetford, who has been offered a job at Thetford Garden Centre following a successful work experience placement organsed by the college and the Thetford Business Forum. Picture: Danny Hewitt

He said: “I am really pleased because I didn’t expect it. I enjoyed working there. It shows that work experience can get you a job.”

Mrs Watson-Brown added: “Working with West Suffolk College members have developed a unique project to incorporate the rebrand of the forum as well as to work with students on developing a better way to engage with potential employees”.

Firms including Warren Services, Center Parcs and Century Logistics attended.

Shadwell Stud are a member of the Thetford Business Forum. Picture are assistant stud director James O'Donnell; yardman Jessie Musk; gardener Karl Fulcher and fiance director and business forum chairman Chris Kennard. Picture: Danny HewittShadwell Stud are a member of the Thetford Business Forum. Picture are assistant stud director James O'Donnell; yardman Jessie Musk; gardener Karl Fulcher and fiance director and business forum chairman Chris Kennard. Picture: Danny Hewitt

Shadwell Stud are a member of the Thetford Business Forum. Picture are assistant stud director James O'Donnell; yardman Jessie Musk; gardener Karl Fulcher and fiance director and business forum chairman Chris Kennard. Picture: Danny HewittShadwell Stud are a member of the Thetford Business Forum. Picture are assistant stud director James O'Donnell; yardman Jessie Musk; gardener Karl Fulcher and fiance director and business forum chairman Chris Kennard. Picture: Danny Hewitt

Shadwell Stud

It is a breeding ground for champion racehorses and is also one of Thetford’s biggest employers.

Around 160 people are employed at Shadwell Stud.

James O’Donnell, assistant stud director, said: “Things like this are a good way for us to let people of any age know there are opportunities which we can offer.

“Our industry is suffering and we have a real issue with employment. I think there is a lack of understanding from some people about careers in equine.

“Also Brexit has not helped and historically we have had a lot of eastern Europeans work for us.

“So this is essential for our business.”

Mr O’Donnell said there are more than 20 different jobs within the company - including marketing, IT, equestrian and game keeping - and a knowledge of horses is not needed. Training is not needed as Shadwell can pay for people to attend college courses. They also offer apprenticeships.

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