Businesses team up to address the skills shortage

Young people from Leeds are gaining valuable work experience across a range of industry sectors, thanks to a unique partnership organised by workspace provider Gilbanks and social enterprise Ahead Partnership.

The initiative brought together the tenants of one of the city’s most prestigious office spaces, One Park Row, to provide young people with exposure to a wide range of businesses and potential future career options, all under one roof.

The students worked with Gilbanks and fellow One Park Row occupants Pinsent Masons and Barclays on a range of activities which introduced students to the opportunities within the sector and helped them develop workplace skills. Employers benefit from getting involved by reaching a broader range of young people and presenting the sector as an exciting career choice.

The event forms part of the #FinProLCR Talent Scheme, which was launched by Ahead Partnership to improve the direct pipeline of young talent available to the professional and financial services sector in the Leeds City Region.

Commenting on the event, Stephanie Burras, chief executive of the Ahead Partnership, said: “#FinProLCR builds on some fantastic business engagement activity already underway in schools, colleges and universities through Ahead Partnership and individual employers. This event brings together a range of companies who share the same building and the same vision to impart their expertise, working collectively, and we hope it will prove a successful model for the future.”

The organisers hope the pilot will inspire other office buildings to get involved with #FinProLCR and build broad support across the professional services sector.

Alex Duckett, managing director of Gilbanks, said: “It is great to see all the businesses of One Park Row work collaboratively to address an industry need and help young people get invaluable work experience. The talent shortage in the region has been well reported, and hopefully, this scheme will start opening dialogue between some of the region’s students and the wealth of experience and ambition at One Park Row.”