Earlier this week our CEO, Frans Calje, took part in the latest Tees Business Leaders Live debate alongside Mark Easby, Director of local brand agency Better and Chairman of the High Tide Foundation, and Nikki Sayer, Associate Director of Casper Shipping and Founder of the North East School of Shipping.
The trio gathered to speak to Tees Business Director Dave Allan, about the importance of investing in our future workforce and guiding them throughout COVID19 and beyond.
Streamed live on Facebook, Frans outlined why it is vital that businesses keep engaging with young people and open doors to opportunities in order to avoid contributing to a ‘lost generation’.
“Even before [the COVID19 pandemic] our industry was facing a skills gap that we have been working hard to bridge,” said Frans.
“My biggest worry is that the pandemic, and a lack of engagement with young people, will leave us with a generation that doesn’t know where they need to go. Ultimately, our businesses, and our communities, will lose out because these people are our future.
“You have to open people’s eyes to the opportunities that are right here on our doorstep. At PD Ports, we have worked incredibly hard to embed young people across all functions within our business and as such, we now have 21 apprentices in areas such as Finance, Engineering, Insurance, IT and Conservancy and will have employed a further 29 by 2021, taking our total to 50.”
Frans also urged fellow businesses to really asses their ability to deliver on new jobs and commit to introducing more young people into their workforce.
“When you make a strong commitment to getting young people into employment, that’s when you can really make a difference,” added Frans.
“We took a very firm view within PD Ports, even as the pandemic took over and whilst ensuring that we had the right protocols in place to keep everyone safe, that we would not hold back on recruitment.
“There is already a lot of great work going on within the region to engage young people, for example the work being done by both the High Tide Foundation and the North East School of Shipping, but by working together we could do even more to inspire our future workforces.
“We want to do more to the raise aspirations, develop resilience and deliver long-term employment. It’s great to see dedicated initiatives like the Government’s ‘Kick Start’ scheme focussing on providing funded work experience placements to young people and I would encourage any business to get involved and do what they can to secure the futures of the next generation.”
To catch up on the panel, visit the Tees Business Facebook page by clicking here.
We will also be discussing what more businesses can do to support young people at our Conservative Party Conference Fringe event this Sunday (4th October). Registration closes this Friday (2nd October) and more information can be found here.
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