City MP Johnny Mercer hosted Plymouth’s 2nd ‘Brain Drain’ Conference in September, sponsored by Skills Group


City MP Johnny Mercer hosted Plymouth’s 2nd ‘Brain Drain’ Conference in September, sponsored by Skills Group

Johnny Mercer MP welcomed delegates to the city’s second ‘brain drain’ conference this year to tackle issues surrounding the reasons why so many skilled young people and graduates leave Plymouth each year to find work

The conference delved further into the issues surrounding the problem of young talent leaving the city to find employment by exploring the role of the Plymouth Growth Board and the local Employment and Skills Board.

The goal of this particular conference was to ask the conference delegates to help further inform and shape the goals of these existing local authority initiatives.

It was also a chance for the conference delegates, leading business’ and education providers to hear from two key leaders on this agenda in the City. Steve Cardew is the CEO of Kawasaki, Chairman of the Local Employment and Skills Board, and Champion of Plymouth Growth Board. Ed Coley is the Head of Skills and Employment at Plymouth City Council and author of the Plymouth Growth Board Report. Mr. Cardew and Mr. Coley presented to the room what the local authority initiatives were trying to achieve over the next few years with the Plymouth Growth report.

A positive theme emerged revealing a forward thinking local authority and business community, engaging local employers, articulating labour market needs and integrating required skills sets with growing markets.

There was a unanimous agreement that every effort had to be made to ensure employers, education suppliers, training providers, students and their parents were kept up to date and pulling in the same direction and that this is a responsibility shared by all parties.

Another point of action identified was the need to improve the quality of Careers Information, Advice and Guidance for students. In response to this, Johnny Mercer MP has written to Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education on this matter as a direct result of the conference discussions.

Rosie Bates, Economy & Enterprise Team Manager for Devon County Council and Partner at SW Local Enterprise Partnership also presented to the room on the role of the LEP in defining skills required locally and ensuring the training for these are properly funded. A new initiative of providing schools with enterprise advisors was discussed to encourage better Careers Information, advice and guidance in schools.

Mr Mercer, said:

“The mood of the conference was really positive, particularly when hearing from Steve and Ed about the brilliant local initiatives that are already taking place through the Growth Board and the Employment and Skills Board. But most importantly, everyone also conceded that they could do more to help these efforts.

This is a great sign for Plymouth as it proves that rather than just being happy to stand still, everyone involved really wants to drive forward and excel – a clear indicator of the ambition we have for our city and its young people. We have some really great minds, living and working here in Plymouth, who really care about the future of Plymouth and our young people and that gives me so much hope that we can tackle the talent retention issue head on.”

The conference also supplied some really useful data and questions raised that were posed to young people at the Youth Event that was co-hosted by Johnny Mercer MP and Sarah Harris, professional youth worker, a week later.

Mr Mercer added: “Not only are we tackling the retaining talent issue from the employers and educators angle but we also need the points of view of the young people to complete the circle. They are the other side to this story and are vital to our success.”



Notes to editors

  1. This event was kindly sponsored by Skills Group
  2. The event was held on Friday 16thSeptember at the Future Inn hotel on Tavistock Road
  3. All areas of industry and education in Plymouth were asked to send a representative
  4. Key youth managers were able to feed the issues back through their young persons event, held at the Guildhall on Wednesday 21stSeptember
  5. Event is by invitation only
/ Press release

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