Business leaders campaign to plug region’s skills gap

from left to right at the ICAEW West of England Annual Dinner: Ed Corrigan, President of ICAEW West of England;  Paul Harvey, South West Business Development Director, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking; Ann Widdecombe; Simon Holdsworth, Managing Partner of Thrings; and Arthur Bailey, President of the ICAEW.

from left to right at the ICAEW West of England Annual Dinner: Ed Corrigan, President of ICAEW West of England; Paul Harvey, South West Business Development Director, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking; Ann Widdecombe; Simon Holdsworth, Managing Partner of Thrings; and Arthur Bailey, President of the ICAEW.

The President of the ICAEW, which represents chartered accountants, has urged the profession in the South West to work with schools and communities to plug a major skills gap in the sector and support future economic growth.

Speaking recently at the ICAEW’s West of England Annual Dinner in Bristol, Arthur Bailey said: “We are campaigning for work experience to be mandatory in schools and encouraging our members to provide work place experience for disadvantaged young people.

He added: “Exposure to working life can make all the difference to young people.

“It’s not just our profession that benefits but the 1.5m businesses we advise.”

The ICAEW West of England Annual Dinner was sponsored by leading law firm Thrings and Lloyds Bank.

Simon Holdsworth, Managing Partner of Thrings, said: “The West of England is rich in potential talent, and as business leaders, we have a responsibility to support, nurture and advise young people who will, in time, become the next generation of entrepreneurs and business owners.

“It is therefore vital that the professional services community harnesses its collective experience and knowledge and shares it with schools and colleges across the region.

“By collaborating in this way, pupils will have the best possible opportunity to realise their commercial ambitions and, in turn, help protect and accelerate future economic growth.”

Former Conservative MP and Government Minister, Ann Widdecombe, was the keynote speaker at the event and gave her insights into what the Political Parties will need to do to secure the business vote at the General Election on 7 May.

She said: “Top of the business agenda is reducing red tape, easing taxes and making the education system more efficient so that young people are readier for employment.”

Ed Corrigan bowed out as President of ICAEW West of England after his 12 months in office.

Corrigan will be replaced by Rick Sturge, whose career has included working in director-level strategic and business development roles for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Accenture and PwC.

He is currently EMEA Vice President of Sales and Marketing at business process management specialists Firstsource.

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