Skills Set

Womble Bond Dickinson managing associate Sarah Daun on how the law firm is keen to nurture a future leaders network to help retain skills for the Tees region…

Looking around the room at the Chemical Industry Association (CIA) Future Forum event at the STEM Centre in Middlesbrough recently, the enthusiasm for an active network in the process industry for junior to mid-level management on Teesside was clear.

The CIA Future Forum is more than just a network for professionals at the start of their career or who are keen to broaden their skills and ultimately voice their opinions on behalf of the UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

The event was an opportunity for the network to get together on Teesside, hear from the Future Forum’s newly appointed Young Ambassador (the leader of the Future Forum for 2018-19), Jennifer Peake, and also hear from Paul Booth OBE about his career to date and the opportunities facing the region.

As a firm, Womble Bond Dickinson has worked for many years with both the CIA and the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) to try to reinvigorate networking at this level in the Tees region.

In fact, a number of our team have been recognised in previous years as Young Achievers at the NEPIC Annual Awards for their contributions to the sector.

The latest meeting was the third Future Forum event in the last year and arguably the most successful yet.

Some time ago we identified that while there are strong networks of senior managers within the process industry on Teesside (due to the fact much of the industry was under the common ownership of ICI), future leaders and more junior managers who are perhaps new to the industry on Teesside have more limited networking opportunities than existed 30 years ago.

We strongly believe that developing a network at more junior levels is central to attracting and retaining the best individuals to Teesside’s chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

The excellent attendance at the CIA Future Forum event and speaking to those in attendance confirmed our view that a regional network could be crucial to both attracting and retaining the talent that the industry needs to continue to prosper.

Alongside social networking, a regional programme will focus on the development of skills through joint training and knowledge sharing. It can also present a platform for discussing issues which are affecting the process industry on Teesside.

The decisions being taken today by leaders of the businesses on Teesside will have the most impact on the next generation of leaders so it is vital that the leaders of tomorrow have the opportunity to make their voices and opinions heard today.

The appetite for a network clearly exists. All of the attendees we spoke to saw the value in the network and were passionate about the future success of the sector.

That’s why we are working closely with NEPIC and the CIA to build on previous events and help this network to flourish.


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