This very high-profile event, with over 1300 senior level industry executives, was a fantastic opportunity for the University to strengthen ties with senior members of the UK business community and showcase its close collaborations across many industrial sectors. It also allowed us a great opportunity to hear first-hand about the skills businesses need in their workforces of tomorrow.
Alongside speeches from Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn discussing their party position on Brexit, the key focus of the conference was on Britain’s next generation of talent and the impact of technology and trust on future leaders. It was great to hear how businesses are increasingly looking for those who can demonstrate adaptability, resilience, creativity and leadership - skills that we are continually reinforcing for all of our students with our programmes. Speakers, such as Liv Garfield, Chief Executive of Severn Trent and Josh Graff, VP EMEA of LinkedIn, highlighted the changing working landscape and their company efforts to improve diversity and inclusion.
The University of Birmingham team comprised academics from across CoSS, CAL, EPS and MDS. A well-attended lunch with very senior members of the business community focused on the use of AI (artificial intelligence) in professional services, led by Professor Lisa Webley and with representation from PVC Tim Softley and DPVC Tariq Ali.
There was great feedback from businesses interested in continuing their discussions with the University from the day. Many were pleased to see a Higher Education Institution that so clearly demonstrated its desire to connect with the business world. Other Higher Education Institutions asked us how we managed to get the space as they wanted to have discussions with industry at the same level!