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Midlands Business Insider

Tuesday 29th July 2014 – Charlotte Walker

Midlands Business Insider – Round Table Event, A Speaking Opportunity About the Future of Stoke on Trent and North Staffordshire

I was given the fantastic opportunity to attend this interesting event which was hosted by Kurt Jacobs of the Midlands Business Insider magazine.

The event was an opportunity for local employers and key influencers within the City to go along and discuss and examine the rapid and exciting changes taking place within Stoke and North Staffordshire following Mandate for Change, and the impact these will have on the city’s economy and prospects. We discussed the opportunities, but also the challenges faced by our Top 20 city, and how they could potentially be overcome.

Stokes Mandate for Change Policy has already had a major impact on the look and opportunities of the city. The plan to attract £1.5bn worth of private investment to the city has meant a new Central Business District (CBD), a new retail centre, improved business support – Stoke is finally getting the resources needed to support its ambitions to be a city of a million people.

I was invited along to give my views from a recruitment perspective, to talk about what skills we have locally, what we don’t have and what needs to change in order to attract and retain talent within Stoke and North Staffordshire in order to achieve the objectives outlined in Mandate for Change?

On the day it was great to see key figures within the local area coming along to give their views, from local employers such as Portmeirion, Lister Trade Frames, TMT First, Staffordshire University and The British Ceramic Confederation together with City Council leader Mohammed Pervez, Executive Director John Betty and senior management from Newcastle Borough Council. It was very interesting to hear points of view from each of their different perspectives and their opinions as to how the City can move forward and achieve these objectives.

Interesting points that were raised for discussion at the event:

  • The atmosphere towards doing business in Staffordshire is changing as the recession begins to recede, the challenge now is capturing that energy
  • The need to work together and for businesses to support and mentor each other to foster growth
  • The importance of an affordable and secure energy source for big manufacturing/ceramics industries in the area
  • The need for fit for purpose commercial buildings in the area to suit a variety of business and workforce sizes, and the important part the council can play in acting as a partner in this process both from a funding point of view and as a source of information of other resources and help
  • Stoke on Trent is 3rd highest in the country for business start-ups – so issues are surrounding supply rather than demand
  • The importance of encouraging young people to study science and engineering for those higher skilled more technical roles
  • HS2’s role in helping to create a ‘magnetic community’ with its own identity – to own the space between Birmingham & Manchester

Overall this was a fantastic event that gave some real food for thought. Now I look forward to seeing how the City progresses towards meeting its ambition to be a city of a million people

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