COMPANIES need to invest in skills and do more to exploit export markets if the recovery is to take hold.

That was the message from Dorset representatives at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference.

A delegation from Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) – whose 700 members employ nearly 37,000 people – was at the event in London.

The Dorset group consisted of the DCCI, residential property company Saxe Coburg, aircraft maintenance tooling manufacturer Field International, economic development and regeneration consultancy Pidela Consulting, AFC Bournemouth, real estate provider Savills and marketing and public relations agency Deep South Media.

DCCI chief executive Ian Girling said: “The main feeling in the conference was that the economy is most definitely on the up, with low inflation and rock-bottom interest rates enabling members to plan ahead and invest.

“There are, however, caveats. It was clear that companies need to upskill staff, explore exports in high-growth markets across the world, do more to create apprenticeship places and forge strong links between schools and business for employability reasons.”

Speakers included Karren Brady, vice chairman of West Ham FC and the government’s small business ambassador and education secretary Michael Gove.