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The Future of Talent in Bristol: 4 key lessons

June 4, 2018

It was a real pleasure to host ‘MyLinkedIn Local: The Future of Talent’ in Bristol last month. The event was designed around key LinkedIn stakeholders, to effect real change in the jobs market in Bristol and the wider area.  Held at M-Shed, we brought together key local business owners and experts from the world of training to answer a single question:

How do we create a brighter future for talent in Bristol?

The shortage of talent is reaching a critical point. With more jobs being created than being filled, some estimate a talent gap of around 1 million jobs in the South West by 2020. Bristol is an exciting hub for new business, with a flourishing tech sector, but are the training and education systems matching up to the needs of business leaders?

Thanks to our fantastic speakers, Mark Dawe, CEO at Association of Employment & Learning, Charlie Widdows, Founder of Solverboard, and our keynote speaker Charlotte Bosworth, Managing Director at Innovate Awarding, we learned a huge amount about how business can benefit from adopting innovative approaches to learning. A few interesting key points emerged throughout the evening:

Apprenticeships are opportunities for all kinds of business

Whether you’re an SME, start-up or a larger organisation, apprenticeships are a great opportunity to train staff. Funding for apprenticeships has changed, making it more affordable for businesses to hire an apprentice than ever before. With increased University tuition fees, apprenticeships offer a valuable alternative with no student debt after completion.

There’s never been a better time to take advantage of government support for training. I believe apprenticeships deserve an equal footing today with more ‘traditional’ education, with some reaching degree-level and beyond. But the key problem is that many businesses still aren’t aware of the variety and credibility of training options available.

The world of work is changing rapidly

A highlight of the evening was Charlie Widdows’ extraordinary presentation on the future of work. Businesses need to think about how they foster agility and creativity, rather than sticking to waterfall management styles or traditional training methods. Large businesses especially can learn from their more agile, disruptive competitors.

As new technology, AI and an increasingly agile workforce intersect, the jobs of the future will be unrecognisable. By 2030, over 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. With demand for resources, jobs and space increasing, the future is set to be very challenging for business.

Good will was higher than normal

This particular event brought together a disparate group of people. Although not everyone knew each other, coming together for a shared objective gave the event a sense of real purpose. It was particularly interesting and gratifying to hear the questions following each talk, where Mark Dawe in particular was able to dispel the myth about small businesses not being able to access apprentices.

The conversation is still happening

Thanks to Solverboard, most participants have opted into carrying on discussing these problems together. Charlie Widdows created a unique e-platform which attendees could sign up to and thus stay in touch. Charlie demonstrated how the platform works, and its simplicity and capability was incredible to see.

What was my biggest takeaway? I really enjoyed the conduit between business and education. Bringing the two groups together created a new platform for dialogue and was wonderful to see.

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