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Shaping The Future Workforce

With The Local Skills Improvement Plan

5th October 2023

The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Skills Unit was delighted to run a ‘Shaping the Future Workforce’ event at the The Courtyard by Marriott, Oxford South on October 5th. Facilitated by the excellent Victoria Freeman, Managing Director of the award-winning Thomas Franks Ltd, the room was full to capacity with businesses from across Oxfordshire and Berkshire, a wide range of education and training providers, and numerous other strategic partners. They had all come together to hear a range of expert input into all things ‘workforce development’ at a time when recruitment and skills have never been higher on the agenda for business leaders. 

The first session covered the current challenges around recruitment and retention. Sarah Stevens, Managing Director of SYLO Beyond HR focused on the needs and motivations of different generations in the workforce. Only by understanding these can businesses build successful recruitment, retention, and talent management strategies.

Holly Norrington, HR and Training Manager for Thomas Franks built on these themes by looking at the importance of promoting and supporting the internal development of employees. When potential employees can see really clear development opportunities across a business, they will be more motivated to apply for roles and are more likely to be retained. Tanya Jenkins, Director of OE & Strategic Projects at Lonza rounded this session off with a look at the importance of building cognitive diversity through businesses to bring innovation and sustainability.

The next session covered leadership with Dr Loua Khalil from Henley Business School bringing an academic perspective on what leadership is and its critical importance to business success. This was complimented by the session from Derek Peaple, Managing Director of the Leading Peaple Company, who drew on his own leadership experience in running a large secondary school and the lessons that can be applied to business and leadership more widely from this. 

The final session covered the key Local Skills Improvement Plan theme of ‘Digitisation’. Dr Mona Ashok from Henley Business School took us through the barriers to the adoption of greater digitisation, but more crucially the key benefits of doing so in the fast-moving technological changes in the 21st-century business environment. Andrew Barnett from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT explained the wide-ranging practical help and support his organisation can provide businesses on their digital journey.  The session was rounded off by Somayeh Aghnia, CEO of Geeks Ltd, who went through what the future of business is likely to look like in a world increasingly impacted by developments in AI entitled ‘Dare or Die, Digital Evolution in the AI Age’.

With a lively networking lunch and Q&A sessions between each topic, the day contained practical advice and thought-provoking ideas. It also provided a chance for businesses, and those that help to meet their skills needs, to come together and reflect on the future development of the workforce across Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

If you want to get your voice heard too, have a chat with us today!

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