Tag Archives: futurestory

Launching FutureStory in Derby

Earlier this week I was at Rolls Royce in Derby with the Prime Minister’s Talent and Enterprise Taskforce, for the launch of FutureStory for Derby and the East Midlands. The engineering heritage struck me the moment I entered Derby. As I was on the way to Rolls Royce in the bright yellow Derby taxi, we passed Bombardier – another major manufacturer in the area.

FutureStory Derby launch

Derby was particularly interesting because of this engineering focus. Not only does it mean that the young people in the region can see companies at the end of their street operating in a global market, but those companies are very closely connected to the schools. There is even one school within the grounds of the huge Rolls Royce campus and naturally they have a great relationship.
The FutureStory website has some really exciting key facts about Derby, including:
• Derby, Leicester and Nottingham are the economic ‘motors’ of the East Midlands – with half the regional population and 45% of the region’s businesses.
• Over the last 25 years manufacturing jobs in the East Midlands have fallen by 40% to 300,000 – and service jobs have risen 86% to almost 1.5 million
• Of the 39,000 Rolls-Royce employees today, 40% are outside the UK
• The East Midlands is Europe’s densest cluster of rail engineering companies – with over230 companies around Derby alone
• Since opening in 1992, Toyota has invested over £1 billion pounds in Burnaston, and has produced nearly 3 million cars in Derby – most for export around the world
• Around 15,000 people in Nottingham work in creative jobs – and the city has around 3,700 students in creative arts and communications
• 25,000 students study at Derby College, which offers special training programmes to almost 1,000 employers across the East Midlands, training over 11,000 employees every year

Information on the event

I don’t think there is another region I have seen during the various FutureStory visits around the UK, where there is such a strong focus on a single type of industry – and one of the things we heard at the event was that Rolls Royce alone employs about 1 in 10 people in Derby. Now add in the other major engineering firms in the area and you have an entire region consumed by engineering.
But engineering is often seen as dirty, nasty, and smelly; an old-fashioned career choice, and certainly not something for girls to consider ever doing. But as I toured the Rolls Royce facility before the event started, and saw the sheer scale of their contribution to the world of aviation I wondered why my own design and technology teachers had never had the vision to show me a Concorde Olympus engine.
When I was at school, Craft, Design and Technology (CDT as we called it) was all about knocking nails in lumps of wood and learning how to use a lathe. None of us could see any practical career that might come from studying this in any more depth. If I had been taken to Rolls Royce when I was younger, and if I could have connected together the studies at school with engine design for a major firm that exports across the world, then perhaps I wouldn’t have ended up writing about technology.

Phil Hope MP

And that’s really the aim of FutureStory. Companies across Britain are globalising – working in partnership with foreign firms, exporting to new markets. They are at the cutting edge of how the new economy works, because they have to compete or die. Phil Hope MP, the Minister for the East Midlands explains it well in this short video. Schools are just there. And teachers are often the primary source of career advice to young people, unless they have switched on parents or guardians who can also guide them – but not every young person is so lucky.
We need local industries to connect to schools so a virtuous circle can be created. The young people understand the world of work better than they would have done without any exposure to companies. The companies will find more employable young people if they can influence the teachers and schools by building local relationships and demonstrating what is really happening in the world or work today.

Rolls Royce engines in Derby: Merlin I

I saw a Rolls Royce Merlin I engine at Derby. When I was a kid I used to read comic books that talked about that engine all the time – because of the war stories I was reading, featuring Spitfires and Hurricanes. Imagine if a teacher had captured my imagination back then and foreseen that being able to identify which plane uses which engine could lead to a career in engineering, instead of just being time wasted with my head in comics?
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Heading down South

I’m back on the train network again today, this time heading south from London to Southampton, on the Hampshire coast. I’m blogging again for the Department for Children, Schools, and Families – on their FutureStory project.

If you haven’t read any of my earlier blog posts about FutureStory, it’s a programme that aims to help young people understand globalisation. What it really means to them and their future. What it means for their home and community. And what it means for companies that are located near to where they live.

This time is particularly interesting for me because I grew up in Hampshire. Though I was actually born in Frimley, Surrey, I lived in Hampshire (just over the border from Frimley) until I bought my first home in London when I was 22.

FutureStory is delivered by the Talent and Enterprise Taskforce, in collaboration with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, who selected the cities. The delivery partner, Centre for Cities, is an independent think-tank focused on economic trends in cities/city-regions around the UK. The Talent and Enterprise Taskforce is a cross-government Taskforce chaired by the Prime Minister. It was established in 2007 to engage with influential networks and organisations to raise the profile of talent and skills as a key source of competitiveness in the global age.

Lucy Parker chairs the Talent and Enterprise Taskforce and she will be speaking about FutureStory during the event today in Southampton. I’m hoping to capture her on video giving a summary of why it’s important, and who she is hoping to influence.

The short story is that FutureStory aims to promote a wider understanding of how globalisation is changing everyday lives and jobs for the future in an increasingly competitive global economy.

It aims to provide a narrative to help frame and stimulate a broader, more positive and forward looking debate about the strategic direction and success of the UK’s cities and regions when facing the realities of the global economy.

And more particularly:

  • To create a national framework for discussions around globalisation in the wider context of the Government’s narrative of growth, optimism and the economy.
  • To engage local planners, policy makers and stakeholders in creating development strategies for their towns and cities which take them beyond planning and regeneration, and towards thriving in the global economy.
  • To create a narrative for globalisation that makes it meaningful to people by telling the story through tangible examples close-to-home.

I’m going to be taking part in a debate about FutureStory today. Perhaps I should have worn a suit(!) Still, I have a couple of copies of ‘Who Moved my Job?’ with me and that book is written on exactly the same themes as this project, which is possibly why I am so interested in helping this to work. More later, once I capture a few videos of the action today.

Lucy Parker at Durham with Prudhoe Community High School

Lucy Parker, chair of the talent and enterprise task force was in Durham yesterday speaking to delegates at the Northeast Economic Forum about the FutureStory programme.

FutureStory shows how real people on the front-line of globalisation are adapting to and succeeding in the new global economy. Everywhere across the UK today, the work that we do, the way that we live and the places we live in are changing.

FutureStory helps us to see how this change is affecting us, in our towns and cities. The FutureStory of each location brings together a set of case studies of real people in real organisations, who tell us about how they are experiencing that change. Through their words, we can see what the building blocks of success in the global economy are – and where the jobs and industries of the future will come from.

Lucy is the real champion of FutureStory, but what was really good to see at this event was some real young people who have been involved in the project at Prudhoe Community High School, a school located just to the west of Newcastle.

One of the teachers, Tim Smith, talked about the architecture of the school: “We needed to create a new building recently and were initially concerned about how feasible it would be to build on top of an old mine, there is a 10cm seam of coal running under the school field. Eventually it was discovered that there was a section of solid rock allowing the building to be safely constructed. The architects used dark materials so the building looks as if it was created from the coal – shining out into the future.”

The metaphor is appropriate as regions like the northeast have seen traditional industries decimated and many are asking where the new jobs will come from. Technology is one suggestion and Jonny McGuigan, a pupil at the school, had made a short video for the conference.

Unfortunately, the technology fell apart at the conference venue and the film stopped! Jonny was undeterred and spoke to the audience instead, really rolling up his sleeves and telling it as it is for someone less than half the age of most conference delegates: “New media is just media to us… we grew up with it. We don’t need to read an instruction manual. Industry has so many closed doors – I want to be able to get some work experience.”

This was an impressive impromptu speech from someone of just 14-years, standing up in front of the most important business leaders in the northeast and basically telling them that they need to wake up to a changing world and the insights younger people can offer.

Jonny made some interesting final observations that apply to both younger and older: “We shouldn’t underestimate ourselves… we need to explore what we can really do in future. I want to learn, but the door is so often shut – not everyone is the media stereotype of a young person.”

Jonny was like a youthful Chris Evans. In fact, he is already working on community radio projects, so you might hear him berating business leaders on air sometime soon. It should have been a hard act to follow, but another Prudhoe pupil, Mark Churchill, talked about his own experience.

Mark was very insightful about how he sees a problem in schools trying to connect creative and academic functions: “I’m in the sixth form, taking subjects like maths, chemistry, and physics. I could just keep on studying these courses and not thinking about the fact that the courses have probably not changed for decades, but I like painting, and Photoshop, and writing, and other creative activities.”

Mark told the audience how all these other activities were considered to be just a hobby by the school, which focuses naturally on the examination subjects. He showed the conference one of his Photoshop montages, which created an impressive murmur of approval from the audience – until Mark said he just “knocked out that picture quickly last night.” He might want to keep the people more impressed by telling less of the truth now and then!

The important question Mark asked was how he can find a career that combines his abilities in science and technology with his love of art and creativity. That needs mentors and advice from people who have done it and found a path into a career that combines those skills.

And that’s really what FutureStory is all about. Helping young people to see that the future of work is changing and that new opportunities are being created all the time, as well as getting businesses to open their doors to young people who want even more advice than ever before.

What is our FutureStory?

The job for life no longer exists. That’s a fact many of us have become acutely aware of as more and more industries go global. People are migrating, in search of jobs. Jobs themselves are migrating through outsourcing – being sent offshore to other countries using technology such as the Internet.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in all this, as the world moves faster and children don’t know what to study because it’s impossible to predict what type of jobs will need what type of qualifications in future. The life of a graduate is anyway very different now. In days gone by all that effort to achieve a degree would have been rewarded with a fairly safe career in a specific industry, possibly even in the same company.

That’s all gone. Your degree will be out of date within a few years, certainly within a decade. Look at India and China. They create over 5m brand new graduates every year. How does the UK compete with that?

FutureStory is an initiative aimed at exploring these questions and connecting local people in their own region to globalisation and what it means to them. The debate around globalisation is often presented in a polarised way – economists supporting the opportunities and campaigners resisting change. FutureStory aims to explore how globalisation really affects people in their own region and how young people can prepare for a global world of work. Rather than stating whether it is right or wrong, the pragmatic view is that globalisation just is. It’s like the sun rising each morning. It just happens.

So, the FutureStory programme aims to help local businesses connect with young people and their teachers to explore where the future jobs are going to come from. It not only allows students the opportunity to explore globalisation with practitioners, but also allows those companies to wake up and explore how globalisation affects the community where they do business.

The question we all need to be asking is, what can I do to succeed in a future knowledge economy? Take a look at the newly-launched FutureStory website here for more information.
Lucy Parker with Tim Smith, Jonny McGuigan, and Mark Churchill from Prudhoe Community High School