Why we need to future-proof Tees region

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Three Tees business leaders have spoken of the need to reveal more about our local businesses and industries to our young people, with too many growing up knowing little about Teesside’s thriving sectors and wide-ranging career opportunities.

PD Ports CEO Frans Calje, High Tide charity chair Mark Easby and Casper Shipping associate director Nikki Sayer were part of the latest Tees Business Leaders online Q&A this week.

For a generation of young people, the ongoing Covid crisis has left them feeling anxious about their futures in a world where the outlook for jobs is uncertain.

Rising to the challenge of giving support to our young people and opportunities to enable them to achieve their ambitions, they’re doing all they can to focus on ensuring a bright future despite the undeniably challenging current circumstances.

Frans is passionate about supporting the next generation, and that means encouraging young people from an early age, opening their eyes to what Teesside businesses have to offer.

“We have to raise the curtain and show youngsters the opportunities that sit right here on their doorstep in this very region,” he says.

“PD Ports have always had a real commitment to bringing the next generation through, but we need to do more.

“Ask any young person on Teesside if they realise that we have one of the largest ports in the United Kingdom here and most of them will have no idea.

“How much do they know about the processing sector, tech, shipping, manufacturing? All this is happening in the Tees Valley. They know about steel because that’s what we used to do.”

Nikki Sayer, who along with her Casper Shipping role is also founder of the North East School of Shipping, reflects: ‘It’s a difficult time, but every problem is an opportunity.

“At the North East School of Shipping, we are doing Teams presentations and seminars online so we’ve adapted quickly to the issues we face.

The Tees Business Leaders Online Q&A

How do we invest in our young people?As our Q&A returns, we talk to Mark Easby from High Tide Foundation & Better, Nikki Cobb Sayer from Casper Shipping and Frans Calje from PD Ports, about investing in our future by training young people.In association with PD Ports, owners of the UK’s fastest growing port, Teesport.

Posted by Tees Business on Tuesday, 29 September 2020

“College courses haven’t stopped, students won’t be left by the wayside, apprenticeships and training will be maintained. This is the new normal and we will continue throughout the pandemic as best we can.”

Mark, who is MD of Middlesbrough brand agency Better as well as leading the way for High Tide, says: “It’s all about accessibility.

“With High Tide’s offerings now online, there’s no reason why every student on Teesside can’t benefit from one of our programmes.

“It’s a consistent and collective approach, building on some of the brilliant work that’s already being done and innovating with the new challenges we are facing. Covid has sent us down a road that we may never have thought about before, but we are reaching a much wider audience because of it.”

Nikki agrees with Frans: “The only way to expose young people to our industries is to either take the industry to them in the classroom or bring them to us with site visits etcetera. We need to hit the middle-of-the-road students who don’t know what they want to do for a career because they don’t know what’s out there.

“To be given an opportunity through work experience, internships or apprenticeships is fantastic. This makes it more accessible for them to come and see what it’s all about, what they do and don’t want to do and then to hopefully go on and have a fantastic career.”

Mark adds: “Obviously it’s not possible to run physical programmes at the moment, so the careers academy which High Tide are launching early next year is trying to find a balance between our physical programmes and virtual offerings in the most engaging and interactive way.

“We’ve always had a brain-drain in Teesside and we need to fight against the ‘If you’ve got it, get out’ mentality. We have to change that together.”

Tees Business Leaders was run in association with PD Ports, one of the leading employers on Teesside and owners of Teesport, the UK’s fastest growing port.