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A message from the Chairman, Ahmed Farooq

News Categories: aspire

“Since becoming Chair of BPS Birmingham in June, I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet many BPS Birmingham members from across our three networks. A number of other key figures from the rest of Birmingham’s business community and civic and community sectors have also taken time out with me. My thanks to them all – the feedback has been invaluable.

I am very excited to be leading BPS at such an exciting time for our sector and Greater Birmingham.

There is a real sense that it is Birmingham’s time, with Grand Central and New Street station unveiled, including the John Lewis store under the watchful eye of BPS President Andy Street. The Mailbox has returned and Resorts World Birmingham has come to life. Together with a number of major events, we have demonstrated to media and visitors from across the country and beyond what a fantastic city we have.

Closer to home, the continuing evolution of the Colmore Business District, where many of our members are based, is exciting – especially with the plans for Smithfield and Snow Hill. Alongside the redevelopment of Paradise, impending arrival of HSBC, the success of Deutsche Bank and investment by Deloitte in Westside there is a palpable sense of confidence in the city.

At BPS Birmingham, we are pleased with the recently signed devolution deal, but we need the new West Midlands Combined Authority up and running and it must be just the first phase of further devolution. We congratulate Councillor John Clancy on his victory and will be watching his new leadership of the City Council with interest. It is essential that the local authority makes timely progress with reforms demanded by the Kerslake Review. We are talking to the Council about how we might support talent and development among their staff.

In the last four months, I have been truly amazed by the sheer passion and dedication demonstrated by the BPS Birmingham office team and the volunteers from among the membership of our networks.

Birmingham Future is our greatest asset, developing and retaining talent within Birmingham and our sector. To this end, I am delighted to be working with Rebecca Simkiss, installed in August as chair of Future. She has a razor-like focus on supporting and developing the city’s young talent, helping them to become great employees in our sector. She is also bringing fresh thinking to the growth of our membership. Rebecca is taking forward the work of Michael Shepherd who stepped down after a very successful annual term in the role.

Meanwhile, Amelia Ladbrook has taken over the reins at Aspire leading a new team and strategic plan, reaching out to members who are either still in full time education or within their first year of employment post education.

Future and Aspire have launched a new mentoring initiative. The Future Mentoring Academy brings together the work done by our networks for young professionals and emerging talent, adding valuable new elements to the mentoring and networking programme.

Our Welcome to Birmingham event for the new graduate intake into Birmingham’s professional sector took place in October and was, as ever, a great success.

BPS Birmingham supported the launch of the Greater Birmingham Professional Services Academy at Birmingham Metropolitan College. In part a response to the report of the Future Commission, we are confident it will prove a key role in developing skills and talent for our sector.

BYPY 2015 winner Katie Kershaw launched her One Life One City initiative at Alpha Tour recently, which attracted over 200 people.

After more years of service to BPS Birmingham than she might care to remember, the unique force that is Nicola Fleet-Milne has stepped down from the Board. We have let her find a few more hours to develop FleetMilne Residential, but we are sure she will still pop up at many of our events.

The BPS Board has been slightly restructured, in particular to support our membership drive. Jason Langford Brown is now overseeing Sales and Marketing.

Hilary Smyth-Allen is heading up our research and policy development, including taking forward the recommendations on skills and talent from the Future Commission which she led.

If you have any comments or ideas on BPS Birmingham and how we continue to help promote, represent and connect our sector, do drop me a line or give me a call.

Finally, as we approach the festive season, may I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.”