A CAMPAIGN to thrust Huddersfield into the "Skills Premiership" was launched today.
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman unveiled his Partnership for Prosperity campaign - and called for mass support.
He wants young people in the town to be given the best possible opportunities to develop the skills necessary for careers and for the success of Huddersfield.
And Mr Sheerman believes commitment is the key - from the university the Technical College, sixth-form colleges and every school.
He said: "We have slipped below the national average for wealth creation and the potential for starting businesses.
"I want us to smash through that average and get into the top half of the table.
"It is vital we have a link between education and employers, between the schools, the colleges, the university and the business community.
"That is why I am making it my campaign for 2004".
Mr Sheerman said he had already sounded out the education leaders in the town and had their backing.
He has also been given support by Margaret Coleman, head of the Learning and Skills Council.
"I saw how such a partnership can work when it was set up in the northern Italian town of Bologna," the MP said. People learned the skills needed to create new jobs and develop businesses.
"My new year resolution is to bring the partnership together. We need to get things right, from infants school through to higher education.
"Huddersfield is a town renowned for its high level of skills.
"We have examples, such as the Media Centre, where many new businesses have been created, and textile boss Chris Antich, who has developed a wonderful business by adapting old skills.
"It is all about building towards a new level of skills, be they traditional skills or new ones."