Chris Plant passed his A-levels and then went on to study at The University of Sheffield where he gained a 2:1 BA in Business and Leadership. 

After university Chris went to work as a landscape gardener which he did for two years. 

Chris said: “I really enjoyed the work outdoors but after a second very cold winter I realised I wanted to further my career in business support. 

“I got a job at Lichfield District Council in business investment and support. I did this for two years but felt the progression opportunities were limited. I saw what I thought seemed a good opportunity – an apprenticeship role as marketing and events coordinator for Southern Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, in 2008. Despite taking a pay cut I went for it, and it turned out to be the best decision of my working life. “ 

Fast forward 14 years to 2022 and Chris took up the role of deputy CEO at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, a leading business support organisation with over 1000 members and a team of over 30 employees. 

Chris has also been divisional director for Cannock Chase and Burton & District at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, a position he held for ten years. 

Chris said: “After moving to Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as marketing manager, I was approached for a senior role as divisional director for both the Cannock and Burton Chambers, a position I held for 10 years.  

 “Since my apprenticeship at Southern Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce I have been Chamber through and through, as I believe the movement embodies the true meaning of business support and innovation.  

“It was a Chamber of Commerce that invested in me as an apprentice, and I was privileged to have been offered a position as deputy chief executive at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce in 2022. 

“The last few years have been the toughest in decades for business. During my time working in the Chamber movement, I have seen businesses face the division and uncertainty caused by Brexit, a pandemic, the effects of a war in Europe and the financial instability that all of this brings. 

“Business support has never been more crucial, and Chambers play a huge, understated role in bridging the gap between business and the government as well as providing world class services and support. 

“It was a career highlight and an honour to be a part of the team at Staffordshire Chambers that was named Chamber of the Year at the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual Chamber Business Awards 2021.   

“The Chamber is a fervent supporter and advocate of apprenticeships, and it is amazing that we have so many people in senior and leadership roles in Staffordshire who started their career as an apprentice.”