•     This week – National Apprenticeship Week – highlights many inspiring stories about how apprenticeships change the lives of young people, as well as boosting business productivity. Whilst our sector contributes one in five of all jobs in the region, the statistics tell us that our sector is still underrepresented in its take up of apprenticeships, both as a method of recruiting and upskilling.   Along with City-REDI at the University of Birmingham, as the sector lead body for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) we recently led a ‘deep dive’ investigation into productivity in the BPFS sector [1]. The report formed part of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Productivity and Skills Commission. A key finding was that skills and ideas are the clear priorities for increasing productivity in the BPFS sector. They are not only issues for the future, but challenges being faced by […]

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  • Around nine-months ago, I wrote a couple of blogs about the plethora of Commissions established in the region, set to examine a wide range of complex challenges facing the West Midlands. The Productivity and Skills Commission and the Leadership Commission caught my eye, not only because of my experience in these areas, but both set up workstreams looking at the professional services sector. First to the reporting line is the Leadership Commission. Let me be clear at the outset. The document is a wonderfully clear assessment of the size of the challenge and in that there is much value. Where a combination of stark reality and perceptions prevailed about the lack of representation in leadership positions, there is now more evidence, even though the Commission was clearly frustrated by data gaps during its work. Nonetheless, it is a significant step forward. I am also extremely proud that an initiative I have led […]

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  • As we continue to measure the impact of Professional Services Week 2017, BPS Executive Director Hilary Smyth-Allen, joined Kathryn Lennon Johnson to discuss the successes, challenges and how we plan to keep on striving to improve social mobility and bridge the gap between school leavers and employers. you can listen to the full conversation with BESS TV below.  

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  • As we pass the midpoint of Professional Services Week 2017 and my feet welcome the well-earned rest from walking around the city, I’ve been reflecting on the conversations had over the past three days with participating students, teachers and business volunteers. Undoubtedly the energy and enthusiasm has been high from all sides. We’ve shared insights, experience and tips and in most cases, a passion for this city…except the last part of that statement appears to be more true for the volunteers and hosts and less so for the young residents taking part. Professional Services Week is absolutely about promoting access to the professions and the vast array of associated jobs within professional services businesses. But today has reminded me of the need to ‘sell’ Birmingham, particularly to Birmingham’s young citizens as a key part of the Week’s core messages. Typically, this need takes two forms, neither of which are that […]

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  • BPS Birmingham has commenced work as a delivery partner for the Careers and Enterprise Company’s operations in the GBSLEP area that will see BPS Executive Director, Hilary Smyth-Allen, take a part time role as an Enterprise Co-ordinator for the business and professional services sector in the region. Hilary’s connections, knowledge and experience of the issues facing the sector and understanding of the need for effective and sustained engagement with schools will be invaluable to the role of sector co-ordinator. As part of the partnership agreement, BPS Birmingham will recruit at least 10 Enterprise Advisors from within the region’s professional services sector who will be matched with a school to work strategically with the school’s senior leadership team to raise the bar on delivering quality careers advice and guidance for all pupils. At the heart of the programme is better coordination amongst stakeholders and matching resources with the greatest needs across […]

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