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Business & Economy

Business event will explore the challenges of attracting and retaining talent in the region

Northumbria University and the North East England Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to host a free knowledge-sharing event for business leaders and HR professionals, exploring the challenges of talent attraction and retention and how organisations of all sizes can develop a leadership pipeline.

Grow Your Own: How to Attract and Retain a Talented Team will take place on the June 6, 2023, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, at Newcastle Eagles’ Vertu Motors Arena. The event, supported by Supply Chain North East, is open to all businesses and aims to provide an engaging platform for people professionals and senior leaders to explore strategies and best practice for recruiting, engaging and upskilling talent within their organisation.

With an impressive line-up of expert speakers and thought leaders – including Chamber Chief Executive John McCabe, Northumbria University HR and Leadership academic Helen Charlton, Walker Filtration’s Group HR Director Alix Bolton and Newcastle Eagles’ Managing Director Paul Blake – attendees will gain insights into the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the HR and people management arena.

John McCabe will outline some of the skills and labour market barriers facing businesses currently and the importance of building leadership skills and capacity to maximise growth here in the region.

John said: “The region faces profound labour market issues, and employers are reluctant to create job vacancies due to economic uncertainty. Whilst this isn’t a challenge unique to the North East, it is arguably greater than in other parts of the UK. As a consequence, businesses need to be prepared to create their own future leaders. This underlines the importance of having a sustainable recruitment and retention strategy to ensure they can attract, develop and retain talent effectively.

“We hope this event will support the regional business community in facing the current labour market challenges head-on and provide insight, advice and strategies to help drive the continued growth and success of their organisations and the region as a whole.”

Dr Helen Charlton, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and HR Management and Director of Apprenticeships at Northumbria University added: “Investing in leadership development is proven to improve company culture, competitive advantage, customer satisfaction and efficient business performance. But all too often, people come to management or leadership roles within a business by circumstance rather than design.

“Without the right skills or behaviours, it can be difficult to operate effectively and can have a profoundly negative impact on the wellbeing and motivation of both the individual concerned and the team around them. Ensuring that leaders, at all levels, have the necessary confidence, support, and skills is an important part of any retention strategy and ultimately the performance of the organisation. We’re thrilled to co-host this event and explore some of these challenges and opportunities for businesses and their future leaders.”

Helen’s presentation will consider what we mean by professionalism in management, how we can develop those in leadership roles, and where executive education and apprenticeships fit. Helen will be joined by Vahid Walker, Technical Director at Walker Subsea, who will explore the theme of training to be a multi-disciplinary leadership professional.

In addition, Paul Blake, MD at Newcastle Eagles – will share his own leadership insights from the world of sport – and Alix Bolton, Group HR Director at Walker Filtration and Northumbria University alumni – will share her personal journey and learnings as an HR professional and business leader. Alix is passionate about developing future-fit people strategies and has worked in senior HR roles across a wide range of sectors, from digital/tech, FMCG and professional services to utilities and advanced manufacturing.

Presentations will be followed by an interactive panel discussion hosted by John McCabe and an opportunity to network with fellow attendees. To register for free tickets or to find more information about the event, please visit: