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Business & Economy

Northumbria University hosts HR conference promoting a ‘people first’ approach

Northumbria University will host a Workforce Development Conference on Thursday, May 12, 2022 to explore why investing in new digital technologies, team communications and health and wellbeing is crucial to an organisation’s future.

The free, one-day conference will include seminars with leading industry speakers, workshops with academic experts and sector-focused breakout sessions to provide insight and actionable guidance on how to attract, develop and sustain a thriving workforce.

Breakout sessions at the in-person conference will explore topics such as the future of digital and how businesses can bolster teams and raise aspirations with new digital skills initiatives; the challenges, and opportunities businesses face with health and wellbeing and key actions employers can take to get ahead; and strategies on how to inspire and enable creativity and innovation at every level in a team to ensure everyone has a voice.

Richard Hopper, Business Growth Manager, Northumbria University, commented: “Businesses and organisations of all sizes and across all sectors are looking at ways to develop their employees in order to remain competitive and progress during a time of rapid change. The current economic environment presents these organisations with uncertainty and challenge, so it has never been more important to invest in the people and the workforce to ensure businesses can face these challenges head on and indeed overcome them. Making this happen however is not always straightforward or easy – but it can be done and through this conference we aim to demonstrate how.”

Speakers will also explore plans to boost the development of green skills in the region, in response to the growing opportunities in the offshore power, decarbonised heat and decarbonised transport sectors in the North East.

Additionally, the conference will focus on professional development and how to embed leadership in SMEs utilising the Government’s Help to Grow scheme; how to deliver sustainable growth of a business with skills strategies to ensure employees have the right skills to perform at their best and thrive into the future; and the importance of adaptability and embracing modern methods to secure the future of an organisation.

Professor Robert MacIntosh, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Business and Law at Northumbria, said: “Businesses face many challenges right now; recovering from the pandemic, the continuing impact of Brexit, the need to become more sustainable and socially responsible and of course ever-rising energy costs. High quality leadership and management skills are crucial in such an environment, and through our Workforce Development initiative and funded programmes such as Help to Grow, we have the expertise and experience to help businesses overcome these pressures and thrive. This is a great initiative and I would urge business leaders to come along, engage and pick up new insights at the conference.”

The conference will provide a platform for discussion, collaboration, and networking for those working at large-scale organisations, small and medium sized enterprises, and individuals working in Human Resources and Learning and Development within the North East.

Speakers at the conference include:

  • Caroline Haydon, OD Consultant – Inclusion & Careers (Apprenticeships) at Virgin Money
  • Graham Wynn, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at Northumbria University
  • Elena Gorman, Digital Talent Engine Manager at Dynamo North East
  • Josh Jackman, Operations Director at ART Health Solutions
  • Paul Vickers, Professor of Computer Science and Sonification at Northumbria University
  • Robert Macintosh, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Business and Law at Northumbria University
  • Mike Deary, Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Northumbria University
  • Matt Lievesley, Associate Professor, Northumbria School of Design

More information on the Workforce Development Conference can be found here: How Can Developing Your People Futureproof Your Business: Workforce Development Conference (