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Gradvert Hosts its First Round Table Event


On the 20th October 2016, Gradvert hosted its first round table event. Post crucial political events such as Brexit and the notion that devolution is now off the table, we wanted to discuss the future of skills in the North East (NE) region considering these decisions.

It became apparent between our guests that there seems to be a stereotype facing the NE; that there’s a lack of opportunities. As the discussion deepened we found this not to be the case and it’s instead filled with career opportunities and yet people are unaware of them.

An example of this was made aware to us by Louise Bradford (Creo Communications), “the City of Sunderland is home to many Games Development Companies” that many are unaware of and don’t associate Sunderland with.

To beat these stereotypes a plan has been put into place that the NE needs to up its game in succession planning, nurturing our talent and ensure that SMEs are marketing themselves correctly. The NE needs to act as one collaborative place to promote what we have and as David Copple (Shine Interview) speaks we should not “compete with each other”.

We discussed how the education of skills needs to be implemented at a young age. Many businesses at our event have become involved with educational establishments. An example being Erika Marshall (Nifco) who is part of Teesside Universities’ internship programme to help teach essential business skills to students by bringing interns into the business. It became prominent that there’s currently a gap between what’s being taught and what employers need and that we need to be the driving force in making this change.

Jordan Dargue (Dargue Associates) stressed that, “after the recession employers are frightened to invest”. We agreed that within businesses themselves more investment needs to be put into training and progression opportunities need to be put into place to gain the best from our talent and ensure the success of our businesses.


Post our discussion, Gradvert is now going to be the point of contact and project manager of the businesses that attended the discussion and create the driving force to make a change. Our immediate actions to be taken from the event are:

. Getting the media involved.

. Promoting and implementing content into schools such as CV workshops and interview tips.

. To meet again to discuss actions and get other businesses involved.

. Involve young people in the discussion.

. All businesses to attend different events and share subject matters.

. Exhibit at the NE Expo 2018 to promote and celebrate the skills that’re in the region.

. Share write up with schools.

. Encourage NE businesses to work together and not to compete with one another.

In conclusion, the two main points that have been taken from our discussion is certainly that more needs to be done within education to provide students with the right business skills. Additionally, companies within the NE need to market themselves more effectively to raise awareness of the great opportunities that’re on offer in our great region and that political events such as Brexit do not need to impact us in a negative way.

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