Praise for levelling up leadership and management skills across city region by CBI chief

Tony Danker was impressed by LJMU's work with businesses and other partners in the community

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This week, Tony Danker of the CBI, was in Liverpool meeting with Vice-Chancellor Mark Power alongside other university representatives to discuss the economic successes of the Liverpool City Region and LJMU’s work in levelling up businesses and other partners in the community.

Tony is the Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry and, along with the regional director Damian Waters, heard from LJMU’s Liverpool Business School about their leadership programmes and the difference they are making. 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Tim Nichol and Liverpool Business School’s Anthony Sturgess outlined how for more than four decades the school has supported the region’s business community by providing development programmes alongside expertise and support. Through its business clinics, which involve hundreds of students working as consultants to tackle real-life challenges faced by local businesses, to its degree apprenticeship support and business scale up knowledge exchange. 

Driving forward economic growth 

Mark reiterated the importance of the school in the region’s development, commenting: “It was great to have colleagues from the Liverpool Business School talking about the work that we do in leadership and management right across the city region, developing that skillset in organisations to ensure that we have the appropriate level of leadership and management to drive forward economic growth.”

During his visit, Tony heard how the school is fundamental in supporting organisational change within major employers in the city region, where a range of leadership development interventions have been delivered for the bespoke needs of local authorities to NHS Trusts and football clubs.

“I’ve been worried about leadership and management across UK industry and its relationship to productivity for years, and actually that’s a big theme here of everybody at Liverpool John Moores University and particularly the business school,” explained Tony. “It’s permeating all the curriculum, from undergraduate through to executive education, and they’re absolutely on the money with that.”

Working together 

The group also discussed wider economic topics and how universities have a collaborative role to play in business and employment growth within their geographic areas, and how that translates to graduate opportunities.

Praising the approach already in place here at LJMU, Tony said: “There’s a big debate at the moment about the disconnect between the skills system and the demands of employers, but actually here at LJMU you’re really starting to nail that and there’s just a brilliant orientation with the students here to always be focused on what happens after and how they can build skills and knowledge for their careers.”

Tony also stressed the need for all sectors to come together to maintain momentum. He said: “The universities play a massive role in Liverpool’s future, in my view, because there are 40,000 students in Liverpool and probably not enough high-quality jobs to keep them here. So, I think the region needs to work together, along with the universities, to work out how we’re going to build new skills, keep them in the city, and keep the story and the momentum of Liverpool going.”

Influence of LJMU in city region

Mark concurred adding: “Driving students forward, making sure that they are prepared for their careers as they go, and obviously the influence that we can have given our place within the Liverpool City Region, both as a major employer but also as somebody that works very closely with all the local industry - impressing upon Tony how important that is for us as an institution and how the wider CBI community can benefit from that has played a vital role in our discussions this week.”  

Liverpool Business School currently manages and delivers two programmes under the Leadership Growth Skills project to upskill people currently fulfilling, or with the future potential to undertake higher level management and leadership roles.

More about Liverpool Business School.

-The CBI is the UK's premier business organisation, providing a voice for firms at a regional, national and international level to policymakers, helping business create a more prosperous society.


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