Better jobs, better business

Central Leeds
Thursday 10 March 2016 -
10:30 to 15:45

National conference

One of the greatest challenges today for business is forecasting and adapting to change. Staff engagement, skills and job progression are part of these changes and are drivers to increased productivity and ultimately economic growth at both a local and a national level. For this to happen there is a role for many to play, including employers, government, local economic partnerships and education providers.


This major conference debated:

  • what support is needed to create a virtuous circle of higher skills, jobs progression and ultimately improved business performance;
  • what are the characteristics of the future jobs landscape, what skills will be needed and how these can be developed against a background of technological innovation.

Recap on the report that was launched at this event.

Two blogs were also released on the day, read David Innes' blog on ending low pay and Louise Woodruff's blog on training and progress.


Speakers included leaders from:

  • British Hospitality Association
  • British Retail Consortium
  • Business in the Community
  • CBI
  • CIPD
  • Ikea
  • Institute for Employment Research
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Leeds City Council
  • Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership
  • PwC
  • UK Commission for Employment & Skills
  • York Cocoa House
  • Yorkshire, Humber & North East, Cities & Local Growth Unit: Government's local growth team - a partnership between BIS and DCLG

Speaker biographies


Programme of events
10:30am Registration and refreshments
11:00am Chairs opening remarks
Julia Unwin, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
11:10am Welcome address
Cllr Judith Blake, Leader, Leeds City Council
11:20am Plenary one: Towards a recipe for more inclusive growth
Katherine Cowell, Area Director, Yorkshire, Humber & North East, Cities & Local GrowthUnit, Government’s Local Growth Team – a partnership between BIS and DCLG
Professor Anne Green, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick
Sophie Jewett, Managing Director, York Cocoa House
Roger Marsh, Chair, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
Scott Renshaw, Store Manager, IKEA Leeds
Robin Winstanley, Project Manager, IKEA
12:30pm Lunch
1:15pm Plenary two: Skills and innovation
Martin Couchman, Deputy Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium
Lucy Thornycroft, Regional Director, Yorkshire & Humber, CBI
Catherine Sermon, Employment Director, Business in the Community
Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy, CIPD
Peter Norriss, Educational Specialist, PwC
2:20pm Coffee break

Plenary three: Innovative case studies beyond the living wage
Chair: Josie Armitage, Senior Manager, UK Commission for Employment and Skills
Caroline Burgess-Allen, HR Project Manager, Rocco Forte Hotels
Tess Lanning, Head of Business Development, Living Wage Foundation
David Shears, Reward Partner, EE   
Lindsay Smith, Employee Engagement Officer, National Coastal Tourism Authority
Emma Stewart, Co-founder and Joint CEO, The Timewise Foundation
Matthew Thomson, Chief Executive, Fifteen Cornwall – Cornwall Food Foundation

3:35pm Next steps and closing remarks
            Julia Unwin, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
3:45pm End of event

Programme download

Booking information

Email [email protected] for further info.

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