For the second event in our new series, ‘The Purpose Accelerator,’ we explored the challenges surrounding the recruitment and retainment of the next generation of talent across the Liverpool City Region (LCR). Bringing together purpose-driven industry leaders, education and training providers, the event set out to discuss how organisations across the region can work together to reduce the ‘brain drain,’ and provide better opportunities for emerging talent. This event was sponsored by Gather, who work to provide advice and support for organisations and leaders within the digital, creative and tech industries.
What is ‘Firestarters’ and ‘The Purpose Accelerator’?
Firestarters is a community of purpose-led organisations and individuals that strive to spark change and create a positive impact within industries across the region. Working to bring together members of the private, public and third sectors, Firestarters leads a series of live events which aims to formulate discussion and provide communities with the support and advice to take action towards positive change.
New for 2022, ‘The Purpose Accelerator’ focuses on supporting value-led start-up and scale-up businesses to grow, develop and provide better opportunities through the formation of more valuable connections across the city region. ‘Next Generation Talent’ is the second event in the series, bridging gaps between various sectors and organisations.
Why ‘Next Generation Talent’?
During the 2017 ‘Centre for Cities’ think tank, it was discovered that migration patterns across the Liverpool City Region were dominated by the movement of students and graduates. This identified a loss of the talent that Liverpool attracted as a university city, demonstrating a lack of opportunity for graduates to begin and develop their careers within the industry. This highlighted an area of concern and spurred key stakeholders within the city to take action. The loss of such talent from the city correlates with the struggle facing businesses in recruiting and retaining prospective employees with substantial knowledge and potential.
‘Next Generation Talent’ provided a platform for industry leaders to supply ideas, actionable next steps and chances for collaboration, in order to create cross-industry connections and create better recruitment and training opportunities.
Why is ‘Next Generation Talent’ so relevant now?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, a record number of job vacancies remain available, despite rates of employment remaining high. There is an emerging need for industry-based roles to be filled, despite a growing disillusionment by unresponsive employers and an apparent lack of opportunities and understanding for new talent to navigate the industry and undertake their desired roles and professions.
As a region, there have been a number of steps taken to combat the brain drain and loss of talent. This was through the implementation of various graduate schemes, created by universities as a way to support businesses in recruiting and developing students and graduates within the city. Despite this, the issue still remains, leading us to search for new ways to support emerging talent and what further steps we can take in order to tackle the challenges surrounding recruitment.
What we discussed at ‘Next Generation Talent’
The event brought together industry and educational leaders to consider the question, “How can we bridge the gaps between industry, education, and next-generation talent to fuel purpose-driven business growth in the LCR?”
At the event, we heard from a panel of four guest speakers:
- Chelsea Slater- InnovateHer
- Ben Dalton- Agent Academy
- Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs – Liverpool John Moores University/Baltic Creative CIC
- Shulah Jones- LJMU Graduate Futures
Kicking off the event was a panel Q+A, which Chelsea Slater began by discussing the changes that she would like to see by businesses and individuals to tackle issues of gender inequality within the tech industry. She also gave us some insight into the work that InnovateHer does to address these issues and fabricate better opportunities for talent.
We need to make sure that inclusion is a high priority within businesses. If we can retain diversity it can equate to more profitable and productive organisations.Chelsea Slater, InnovateHer
Next, we heard from Ben Dalton, Programme Manager at Agent Academy who gave us some insight into the best ways to identify young talent and how Agent does this so well.
Its all about being open. Understanding what the young person wants, what their skills are and how we can align them with the industry.Ben Dalton, Agent Academy
Hearing from the industry experts of our panel during the Q+A elicited a framework for some key discussions and concepts, which were continued in more detail during breakout rooms, which occupied the remainder of the event.
What we’ve learned from ‘Next Generation Talent’
Our panel of industry experts raised some excellent points of discussion and offered some key insights that were later developed during the breakout sessions. These discussions were developed and evolved, through a collaboration of individuals from various organisations across different industry sectors. Some of the primary points raised were:
- The challenges surrounding recruitment and development and how we can solve them
- What opportunities are available within industry and graduate schemes
- How we can work within our organisations to provide better opportunities and support students and graduates on their transition into industry
- Ideas on how to create an accessible platform that bridges the gap between industry leaders, educational institutions and training providers
If we want that pipeline of talent to stay in the city and we want to be responsible for them, we need to create the next steps that they need. We are not supporting our graduates enough when they leave.Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs, Liverpool John Moores University/Baltic Creative CIC
What’s next for Firestarters?
Following the event, we’ll be gathering insights; including key ideas and discussions and turning these into actionable next steps. Firestarters is bigger and better than ever and we have a lot of exciting events coming up to help us to spark positive change across the region!
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