Last month I was lucky enough to attend the Business and Education Summit 2017 hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce. Key note speakers and panellists included Jeremy Corbyn, Ben Towers, Justine Greening and Vince Cable just to name a few. It was a fantastic day, which left me feeling optimistic about the future development of talent in the UK.

The BCC launched the summit three years ago to explore the most effective ways to bridge the gap between business and education. Their focus is to build a pipeline of talent for UK businesses by equipping people with the right skills to make a smooth transition from education into the world of work. This year the summit focused on three key themes:

How schools can create the business leaders of tomorrow

The general consensus was that schools have been placed in a difficult position over the past few years. As a result of funding cuts and difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers, the curriculum has narrowed, which means that there is a much greater focus on academic attainment than there is on developing creativity, innovation and the soft skills necessary to be successful in business. Presentation skills, emotional intelligence, resilience and innovation need to be brought out of the realm of extra-curricular teaching into mainstream subjects.

Maximising productivity through skills

We need a culture change when it comes to our perception of lifelong learning; gone are the days where we could rest on the qualifications we gained when we left school.  What many people don’t consider are the benefits of consistently upskilling yourself and your team. Kathryn Parsons, CEO of Decoded said that CEO’s and directors should also be open to gaining qualifications to develop their skills; we are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex world where lifelong learning is essential for success, regardless of age or rank in the company.

How education and business can work together to drive economic growth

There are many great examples of collaboration between schools, training providers and local business, however this could be extended and developed even more to help students build stronger pathways into employment. This is where Westminster Business School has been ahead of the game with the new MBA format. Not only are we exposed to fantastic academic teaching, there is also a strong focus on presentation skills, emotional intelligence, working in diverse groups and resilience. We get the opportunity to engage with real clients, across many sectors, on live business challenges within the safety of a learning context.

Thank you to Janine for writing this fascinating blog on the relationship between education and business. Find out more about Janine’s course and the new MBA program.

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