Month: March 2014

Things are on the up in Hull

I normally keep my posts quite generalised, focussing on my own writing journey or employability in general but with some great news in my wonderful home City of Hull today, I felt compelled to be a little more specific for a change.

I’ve lived in Hull all my life and honestly couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else. It is a beautiful City with a rich history and a business and education community that I have come to know and love for it’s “Can Do” attitude. Whilst some of us have felt the rumblings of something great coming for quite some time, to the outside world and to those doubters within our community, Hull has been hovering around the wrong end of just about every league table going and has been seen quite negatively in the media.

Things are on the up though. We have a Building Schools for the Future programme which is changing the face of our many and diverse communities as well as the educational chances of the students. Improvements in health care and housing are just as evident. Two big pieces of news though are real game changers for the City of Hull. In November, Hull was announced as UK City of Culture 2017, something that came as a bit of a shock to those outside our great City who simply don’t yet appreciate what Hull has to offer.

Today’s news that Siemens UK have formally signed contracts which will see them, their partners and immediate supply chain invest £310m in our area feels to many to be the icing on the cake in turning round Hull’s fortunes. With a pledge of 1000 jobs at Siemens alone, it’s certainly going to have an impact on our region’s employment figures and will firmly position the Humber as the UK’s Energy Estuary.

With all this great news, with the construction it will bring and with the cultural events planned it’s easy to think that Hull’s prayers have been answered. The truth is though, the hard work is yet to come and no-one is able to rest on their laurels. An increase in jobs doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be filled by local people. With a shortage of the necessary skills, it’s likely that those with the expertise needed will follow the jobs – at least in the short to medium term.

With so much focus now on Hull, it has never been more important for our young people to understand their employability skills and how they translate into the world of work. There is a lot we can do to support young people, whether we are a parent, a teacher or are in business. It’s important that we celebrate and encourage our young people – not everyone will want to be an engineer or a performer but with such investment into our City, there will be opportunities for everyone to play their part, so much so that the list is endless. The thing is though, competition will be fierce so they will have to make sure they stand out from the crowd.

I’m sure there will still be many doubters, but there are many more believers in Hull and with their support, we can help to ensure that our young people are prepared for a much brighter future, a future they deserve but must equally work for.


A bit of an update…

Having looked back at my blog, I can’t believe how long ago it is that I posted. Things have been such a whirlwind recently and the feedback I’ve been getting from the book has been excellent. I’ve had a couple of great reviews in and will be sharing them with you very soon.

I thought in this blog it would be good to share my experiences from the last week with you – a week that has been the epitome of all things employability and thank has also thankfully seen a few copies of Employability What? sold.

Tuesday morning saw us re-launch the Employability Charter, an initiative which aims to link business and learning to develop employability skills. This is something that I’ve been working on as part of my day job for the last 18months, learning as I’ve gone from Kerrie Jaquest from the Humber Education Business Partnership who has become a very dear friend and supporter. After a hugely successful year, the Humber LEP have now adopted the Employability Charter and see it as one of the key tools that will help support skills across the Humber. The re-launch event which showed off our new branding and website but also gave young people the stage to talk about their skills and routes into the world of work, highlighting to the employers in the audience how much they could have an impact.

The work of the Employability Charter is something I’m hugely proud of so to have our work acknowledged by the Humber LEP is a great pat on the back and gives the platform and encouragement to move it further. For the Employability Charter to receive a Special Recognition Award at the Hull Esteem Consortium awards celebration on the same day was again testament to something I very much believe in. Young people ARE employable, they just need help to realise it.

Wednesday saw me working with two year 8 classes at a local school, running interactive sessions which introduced them to employability skills in exactly they same way as I do in the pages of Employability What?. As is usually the case when working with students, they are oblivious to the skills they already posses, let alone how they can be grouped together and how they are used in business yet by they end of the 50 minute session, all were engaged and could highlight where they were demonstrating those all important employability skills.

The students were mildly amused as the photographer from the local paper interrupted the last lesson to take a series of shots for a forthcoming newspaper interview about Employability What?.

This week has been National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week and as such a perfect time for me to launch Employability What? throughout my networks. The thing is though, this book is relevant to every young person, every day so I would urge every parent reading this to think about their own children and every teacher to think about the young people in their charge.

Should you want to purchase a copy, visit

Or to order for your class, drop me an e-mail on

Thanks for reading