A week in the life of a regional industrial strategy manager
We join ICAEW’s Regional Industrial Strategy Manager, Rosalia Wood, on the road and in the office on a typical working week.
I’m in for a busy week, I’ve got three events to chair and attend. Monday is very much a day for me to plan for the week ahead, and today I’m printing briefings, tent cards and sending final confirmations to attendees.
It’s National Apprenticeships Week, and I’m drafting an article for ICAEW business members about the benefits of taking on an apprentice. Given my regional focus, I’m really interested in how businesses in areas outside London can develop and retain their own talent pools. Apprenticeships are an important tool in this aim.
At 7pm, I head to Manchester ahead of a roundtable that I’m attending the next morning as part of the National Skills Consultation. This is run to highlight skills gaps and what ICAEW members are doing to respond to them. I’m writing a publication around the solutions to skills shortages in the UK that is intended to be presented to local business policymakers, business organisations and central Government, and I’m keen to hear the insights of members living and working in the North West.
It’s the morning of the roundtable and, as with any event, I am really nervous. I’m even more anxious this morning, as this is the culmination of eight months’ work and planning. I leave my Manchester hotel at 7am and go and pick up the catering for the event (bacon butties are a must this early!).
I head to the venue and by 8am, I’m sitting in a boardroom packed with high-profile ICAEW business members discussing the skills gaps in the North West. The conversation is lively, but we’ve barely scratched the surface … I’m going to have to set up follow-up calls to get the quality anecdotes I need for the report.
I then head back to London for a meeting with the Department for International Trade. I help ICAEW’s fabulous Communities Team with content for the Export Community, a forum for ICAEW’s members who export goods or services. The Department wants to encourage British businesses to export, especially to countries outside the EU, and is keen for ICAEW to communicate details of their events and guides to exporting.
Today is an unusually quiet day today, so I’m devoting it to following up with the attendees to Monday’s event. I’m writing to attendees and scheduling meetings that will allow me to do some deep-dives into the measures their businesses are taking to plug their skills gaps and collect case studies for my report.
In the afternoon, I’m off to a meeting with the Insights, Public Affairs and Media teams to explore the types of member insight we are looking to do this year via member surveys. This research helps us on the Business and Industrial Strategy Team to understand the things that most affect ICAEW’s business members and gives us a steer on how to direct our campaigns and workstreams.
This morning I’m meeting with the London and South East Team, with my colleague Rachel Underhill (Business Strategy Manager) to discuss each of our strategies for the year. My team regularly provides content and event programmes (like my skills consultation) to ICAEW Regions and District Societies to ensure that business members across the UK have the engagement they want with ICAEW centrally.
After my meeting with the London team, it’s off to Waterloo again for another leg of the skills consultation. This time, I’m in beautiful Christchurch, Dorset, talking to members in business and practice about how they attract and retain talent. We have some great discussions and I’m hearing some fabulous anecdotes about how apprenticeships are helping to improve business productivity in the area.
We’re finished at around 8pm, and it’s time for me to dash to the station to get to Exeter!
It’s 5.30am, and I’m running another skills consultation roundtable in Exeter. This is my final event this week, and I’m definitely looking forward to putting my feet up over the weekend! I get to the venue, and even at 7.15 in the morning, the room is already packed with Chartered Accountants eating breakfast and talking shop. We’ve got loads to get through today, and with an audience of 17, it’s going to be a jam-packed meeting.
The insight I get from chartered accountants on issues like this is always incredible, but today’s audience is particularly enthusiastic, and I get some amazing information on what local authorities in the area are doing to help attract and retain talent through housing and training programmes.
After the meeting, I beat a hasty retreat to Exeter station and get on the train back to London. While it’s always a bit of a trial working whilst on the move, I’ve got loads of follow-up to do from the skills consultation, and I need to get cracking on the write-up, so it stays fresh in my mind.
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