At the beginning of April BECG held a Breakfast Roundtable event with Councillor Gary Millar, the Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet Member for Business, Economy & Skills.
Cllr Millar has been a councillor on Liverpool City Council since 2008 and sits as a key member of Mayor Joe Anderson’s team. Prior to his career in politics, Gary was a successful businessman, most notably part owning the iconic Parr Street Studios in Liverpool city centre.
With local elections just a few months away, this was an ideal opportunity to discuss the future of Liverpool and how the City Council is looking to work with businesses to drive investment and create jobs locally.
The main topic of the discussion focused on the Skills for Growth plan and the need for a more strategic approach to employment.
The consensus among the room was that the current education system does not provide the relevant vocational skill set that is required in most professional industries today.
This brought the topic of discussion onto the Housing and Construction industry. Concerns were raised that we (the UK) are still building houses using the same traditional methods whilst other parts of the world are being far more innovative with their building and engineering methods.
Cllr Millar agreed that this is an issue that needs to be addressed and reinforced this by stating that “the issue with the curriculum is that it is over 100 years old and is no longer fit for purpose”.
He followed this up by introducing the room to the activities of the Skills Commission that meets every 6 weeks. This commission was set up by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and surveyed approximately 2,000 businesses regarding their future skills needs.
Cllr Millar stated that “the Skills Commission is predominately led by the private sector and the meeting facilitates the opportunity for a more strategic approach for employment”.
It’s clear this is a key opportunity for collaboration between the private and public sectors and one that both Cllr Millar and Steve Rotheram are keen to utilise.
It’s important that those in the private sector play an active role in shaping the skills agenda, and it seems across Liverpool there is an invitation to do so.
As the main generator of jobs and investment, the private sector is best placed to understand the skills and knowledge requirements for the future. By opening up to collaborative working, it’s positive that Cllr Millar has understood this and it’s good to see Liverpool taking a lead on this issue.
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