North East business event seeks to address talent and skills retention

An event in the North East for business leaders hosted by accountancy company Tait Walker sought to discuss how best to retain talent and bridge the gap between businesses and young people.

Representatives from the education, manufacturing and recruitment sectors attended the event, which discussed the ongoing issue of skills and its impact on the region.

Tait Walker’s Alistair Watson chaired the discussion that included Pamela Petty of Ebac, Joanna Berry from Newcastle University Business School, and Ian Pickett from recruitment specialists from Drayton Partners.

The event comes at a time when apprenticeship initiatives are sweeping the North East region. The Journal has recently launched a new campaign called ‘Let’s Work Together’, which seeks to encourage North East companies to collaborate and tackle the skills gap in the region.

The campaign is attempting to address the issue of skills shortage by acknowledging examples of businesses that work with schools and colleges to help prepare young people for work.

“Students have a lot to offer the business community and the long term benefits of retaining this talent in our region needs to be recognised cross-sector; if we can offer them a bright future we will reap the benefits of their skills further down the line,” said Dr Joanna Berry.

She stressed the need for education and businesses to work together, citing the current situation in her university where there are more students seeking placements than there are businesses that could offer them.

Mr Walker said: “It’s always incredibly empowering to see members of our business community joining forces on issues they clearly care so much about. Most North East businesses are having hands on experience of skills and retention issues and have suggestions of how we could combat them.”