Interview with Capt Richard Brough, OBE

Richard Brough OBERichard Brough has played a leading role in skills development in the Humber Region for many years. His background in Merchant Shipping and port management gave him a strong interest in training, and he has been involved, in a voluntary capacity, on many committees related to skills development. Richard was recently appointed Chair of the North Bank Partnership of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership. Archomai’s Neil Watson caught up with him to get his views on skills in the Humber.

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Skills and Energy Security – a Norwegian perspective

Offshore Oil, gas and soon wind is booming as energy along with food security become ever more significant across the globe. Easy oil is shifting to prospecting and drilling in tough environments as higher oil prices make inaccessible fields viable and the same applies to gas. Even wind turbines are moving further out to sea with the three fields off the Humber, UK soon to build up to 10,000 turbines in over 50 metres of water – this has never been tried before. There is one key factor that will put all these efforts at even greater risk – the lack of a skilled workforce to find, develop and deliver energy worldwide.

This week I have been in Norway visiting Universities; Institutions and Businesses large and small working in the Energy business. I was with Captain Suresh Bhardwaj, Vice Chancellor of AMET Maritime University, Chennai and we have been exploring ideas to be applied on skills capacity building in the Indian Ocean on offshore oil, gas and wind alike as well as for the Humber on the developing Renewable Energy cluster.

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Why Simulators?

Archomai believe that simulators are an underused training tool, frequently viewed as an unnecessary cost or just a video game. In some cases and installations, these critics may have a point as we have seen vanity installations where the simulators are rarely used, installations where the simulator was never an integrated part of the training courses, etc.

However, let’s look at a few of the real benefits of using simulators: Continue reading

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Cold calling

I don’t know whether it is just me, but in the past couple of weeks I have been receiving cold calls from various (mostly) leisure companies. The one thing that has “impressed” me about the calls is the rudeness and lack of Customer Service ethos. Continue reading

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New generation Hull and skills

Hull, UK, hosted a Green Vision Summit on Monday where businesses and interest groups across the spectrum were invited to contribute to thinking on how the City could enhance its green credentials. Hull CC’s environment portfolio holder Martin Mancey wants to see the city improve public transport, create more green spaces and promote the work of green community projects. Green has the potential to transform the city but we need to express this in ways that can generate jobs. This means a sustainable agenda that can inspire people to think green as a means to improve life and career prospects and, every business to think green to build new products; shape more sustainable supply chains and grow new markets.

Hull Pedestrian Island & Green Boulevard

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Light manufacturing skills in developing markets

Skills has to be seen as key in any focus on sustainable growth and, as with the example from Sri Lanka and the German led vocational skills centre Tanzania is exploring the same agenda. The World Bank has just produced a Report on “Light Manufacturing in Africa” and, at the launch in Dar-es-Salaam, Emmanuel Ole Naiko made clear that this emphasis on skills starts in the schools where entrepreneurial skills focused on livelihoods can be nurtured. Giving an example, he said the schools being operated by Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) in Tanzania should specialise on training students on industrial sectors where Tanzania is strong.”This will enable our people to develop industries in their localities with the objective of producing semi-finished industrial goods which will be further processed in major cities,” he said.

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A German Vocational Skills Centre in … Sri Lanka

This Blog has mentioned the German vocational skills model several times. It is well rooted in the High School structure and, places a heavy emphasis – unlike the UK – on links to industrial sectors. I travel in the Indian Sub Continent often and, where the UK has allowed A4E to be UK PLCs default representative on all things to do with vocational skills, the German approach has been very different. Here’s a piece from Sri Lanka where the German Government is working directly with their Sri Lankan counterparts to build skills capacity. This last week, the foundation plaque for the Sri Lankan German Vocational Training Institute in Kilinochchi was unveiled. This is the largest vocational training facility in Northern Sri Lanka. Continue reading

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Regeneration is about skills not just buildings

This evening, Paul Swinney, an economist at the Centre for Cities was interviewed on the BBC local news and assessed the impact of Regeneration Projects in places like Hull over the past few years. Swinney highlighted successes such as the Lottery Funded Submarium The Deep; the KC Stadium that was funded out of the sale of shares in the Council owned Telephone company and the St Stephens Shopping Mall. Then, accepting that these projects had made a positive impact he made it clear that this is not enough to build sustainable growth. In fact, the failure of the regeneration project has been its exaggerated focus on the built environment and a near total lack of focus on skills. Hull is not alone.

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Skills and the types of firms in the marketplace

Over the weekend several papers carried the launch of the Ownership Commission Report (March 2012); a useful analysis which calls into question the UK obsession with the PLC as the default ownership formula for business. There are several points raised that relate to skills.

Supply chains compete not companies

The Report builds the argument that the UK has disproportionately fewer co-operatives; consumer mutual; worker owned firms and State owned firms than elsewhere in Europe. Taking data from the top 1000 companies in each country; 35.9% of Germany’s companies are family owned against 10.9% in the UK; 12.1% are owned by the State versus 1.9% in the UK and, 18.4% foreign owned versus 22.9%. Family ownership is an interesting issue with over 60% of EU businesses and 25% of the top 100 businesses being family held. Continue reading

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The national skills agenda

The link between a skilled workforce and sustainable economic growth is evident across the world. Now, the need is not just for vocational courses as well as pure academic qualifications. We need a seismic shift that offers life-long learning opportunities to upgrade skills constantly to keep pace with technological innovation and, to sharpen the competitive edge in the global marketplace. Let’s have a look at progress.    Continue reading

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