White Collar Legal's blog on Suing for Breach of Contract

Posted by White Collar (Legal and Admin) Ltd

Wed 04th, Jul

Whether you’re buying a new car or selling your goods online, the chances are that you will have entered into a contract with the other party involved.

Having the contract in writing is always a sensible idea, as it protects both buyers and sellers and ensures that, if either party were to breach the contract, there would be consequences.

However, even when threatened with legal repercussions, it’s simply not possible to stop a party for breaching a contract should they want to, leaving you with no other choice than to take legal action.

But before we delve into the actions that you can take, it’s important to clearly define exactly what a contract is.

Contracts begin when two or more parties enter into a legally binding agreement, which can be made in writing, communicated orally, or through an agreement by way of conduct.

Contracts centre around three key points; an agreement, an intention to create legal relations, and consideration (i.e. one party says that they will do something in return for something else). One example of consideration is when money is exchanged for food in a restaurant; a customer and a restaurant have entered into an agreement or contract.

It’s the consideration that gives value and weight to a contract and is the most important aspect when considering legal action against a party over a breach of contract.

Breaching a contract

If one party fails to fulfil their side of an obligation, or they break the terms and conditions set out in an agreement, they have breached the contract. There are a number of ways that parties can breach contracts, but typically involve the failure to pay or the non-delivery of goods or services.

Suing someone for breach of contract

Suing for breach of contract is not always the most straightforward of processes, and you must overcome three legal hurdles to prove that your contract was breached.

The first legal hurdle is to deliver proof of the existence of a contract. A written, signed contract should be your first port of call, but other documentation, such as letters, emails, text messages, invoices and conduct can be used in substitute of a written contract in the majority of cases.

Once you have collected proof that you entered into a contract with another party, you must show that the contract has been breached. Evidence must be given to state the obligations of the accused, and that those obligations were not met (or breached), or that goods or services were not delivered to the obligated standard. Such evidence can be submitted as photographs, video files, expert testimonials or physically delivered to a court for inspection.

The final hurdle that you must overcome in order to successfully sue someone for breach of contract is showing the loss. As the injured party, it’s your responsibility to provide evidence that you suffered loss as a result of the breach of contract, and that you should be compensated as a result. Evidence can be provided in a number of methods, such as profit and loss sheets, client orders and contracts with end customers, and other written documentation.

Most claimants sue for loss that was a direct consequence of the breach of contract, but you can also claim for indirect losses. Claiming for such losses, however, is more complicated.

Before you consider suing for breach of contract, it’s important to note that, even if a court was convinced that you suffered loss as a result of a breach of contract, the process of assessing and then verifying the losses can be a long and drawn-out process, and can also be expensive.

Legal remedies for breach of contract cases

If you successfully manage to persuade the court that you suffered losses as a result of a breach of contract, then you could be entitled to receive monetary damages. Most commonly, damages are awarded to help the injured party return to the same position they would have been if the contract had not have been breached.

Is suing for breach of contract worthwhile?

It is natural to feel angry and disappointed when a company fails to deliver their end of the bargain or breaches a contract, but before you launch into a claim, you should assess your merits and evaluate whether it would be cost-effective to pursue a claim against the company.

Pursuing a breach of contract can often be an expensive and time-consuming process, and may cost you more than you lost in the first place.

There’s also the relationship between you and the contracting party to consider; suing for breach of contract could lead to long-term challenges and damage relations between the two parties, something you wouldn’t want to do in haste.

However, there are times when suing for breach of contract is the only way to resolve an issue and receive damages for the losses incurred. If you would like to find out more about breach of contract cases, don’t hesitate to get in touch with White Collar today on 0151 230 8931 or visit www.whitecollarlegalandadmin.com for more information.

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Christina Smith, Customer Service Executive at Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 29th, Jun

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

My name is Christina Smith and I am the Customer Service Executive at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. I am fiercely proud of my city region and of the airport team which is working hard to make Liverpool John Lennon Airport as the region’s airport of choice. We promote Liverpool John Lennon Airport as being Faster, Easier and Friendlier. I use the airport as a traveller frequently and I can say in an unbiased way that It’s a joy to use the airport as it is so quick and easy to get from A to B. Our colleagues at LJLA represent our region which is known for or friendly personality. Around 5 million passengers pass through Liverpool John Lennon annually.

I work with the airport teams and with our users who provide us with an incredible amount of feedback. We want to hear from existing and potential customers so we offer the traditional channels (face to face, letter, email, phone ), as well as social media and surveys (including a global airport customer service survey, known as the ACI ASQ programme). As a business, feedback from our customers is vital to developing our services to meet the needs of our existing and potential users. Feedback and engagement with users and disability groups in particular helps us to focus on how we can also assist travellers with a range of disabilities, both hidden and visible.

What does a typical working day look like?

My typical working day starts between 0600 and 0700 through choice. Years of working shifts in the travel industry becomes ingrained and I find early mornings are my most productive time. As a 24 hour business, our users will use our multi channels to contact us around the clock.  Much of my day is spent engaging with customers from my desktop or via phone apps, but it is important to be out and about to witness what is going on with customers and colleagues too.

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I try but accept that I fail regularly. Also don’t set yourself a goal to reach a set destination in terms of career. I’ve changed track several times and each path brings new opportunities and experiences. Nothing is wasted.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

I am passionate about the improvements we are making and can potentially make to improve accessibility at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Countrywide 9% of travellers using UK airports who have a disability require a wheelchair.  91% of travellers who may need assistance to use airports have an audio, visual or hidden disability. Age related disabilities including dementia and cognitive impairment such as ASD are areas where information sharing is helping us to improve the airport experience for our users. If we as an airport and the City Region as a whole, can continue to improve the customer experience for all, then we have the potential to become even better at what we do.

 Where would we find you on your day off?

I’m not that good at switching  off from work so my compromise is to get away whenever I can. Yes, I’m afraid this is still work related as I will always fly from Liverpool and I will always be on the lookout for innovations on my travels which could be something we could use at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. If I can’ t get away, we are usually found walking our ‘Sausages’ (dachshunds ). These little guys are my reality check.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I would advise myself to look beyond what is immediately in front of me and be prepared to take a leap of faith. As a sporty and academic teenager, I chose the most obvious path that presented itself at the time. This was symptomatic of what we did at the time. Having completed A levels I went on to study a B.Ed majoring in PE. Two years in, reality hit when I realised that the world is a lot bigger than the 9 -5 of the school week. I took that leap of faith and left Liverpool to work in France for 2 years. My thirst for knowledge of places and cultures took flight. 

Who is your role model in business?

I don’t have a single role model as I think that life role models are important. My role model in life is my 86 year old mother. She is in the advanced stages of dementia but if I can achieve a fraction of what she has achieved then I will have made it.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

Like many teenagers of my generation, I couldn’t wait to leave Liverpool. In fact, I grew up at a time when Liverpool was definitely struggling. It was a source of embarrassment to admit to being from Liverpool as the image of the city region at the time nationally was as low as it can be. Leaving to work in France, followed by time spent working at London Gatwick Airport, I lost much of  my scouse accent. Later, working for many years at another airport, I seethed at the ‘scouse’ jokes and the way people reacted to the scouse accent.  Returning to work at Liverpool John Lennon Airport in the early noughties, I don’t know if it was maturity or a growing pride in our city region, but the accent is back and used with pride. The City Region has been on the up for some time and seeing visitors to the region from across Europe fly in here is great. I can now say with my hand on heart, that I am a proud advocate of our city region and of Liverpool John Lennon Airport. 

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 29th, Jun

The Foreign Secretary may appear to have a problem with business with his alleged expletive outburst this week but, as the International Business Festival comes to a close, we can reflect with pride on the diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation of British businesses showcased over the last 3 weeks here in Liverpool.

Covering a range of themes including culture and sport, cities and future transport, sustainable energy, manufacturing, creative and health, it demonstrated the insatiable contribution that businesses of all shapes, sizes and types makes at a social and cultural level as well as to the economy.

It is in this spirit that the Chamber’s Annual Dinner Awards on Thursday 1st November will once again recognise those businesses and individuals who are driving forward the responsible business agenda across the Liverpool City Region.

We are also recognising the city region’s most successful Exporter of the Year to acknowledge the economic contribution made by local businesses to the national economy as well as within the city region itself. Given our burgeoning digital and technology sectors we are also introducing an award for Digital and Technology to highlight local talent, innovation and success.

We will also celebrate individual achievements across all of our business community in our Local Hero Award, once again recognising those individuals whose actions often go unnoticed but whose enthusiasm, passion and tenacity make things happen!

The Awards will be presented at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner on Thursday 1 November at The Rum Warehouse and we look forward to toasting the contribution of businesses that ensure that in Liverpool every day can be a festival of business.

Awards and event booking details will be released next week but in the meantime if you have any queries contact the team at events@liverpoolchamber.org.uk

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Posted by Neil Ashbridge

Fri 29th, Jun

It has been an extraordinary few weeks on the international stage. From an acrimonious G7 Summit, changes in the leadership of both the Spanish and Italian governments to the media frenzy which surrounded the meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. At home, the Brexit debate continues to expose the rifts on both sides of the House and as the German Chancellor is coming under increasing pressure at home, it is hard to predict what will happen next.

In fact the only thing that is certain is the uncertainty which currently exists around future trade agreements.

Post G7, journalists were in their element analysing the impact of what has traditionally been a predictable but friendly gathering, failing to agree on a final communiqué, and casting doubt on the future of the G7 itself. For the markets themselves however, it was business as usual, as they remained unmoved by the political rhetoric and exchange of personal insults.  Undoubtedly however it has left the G7 in a weaker position at a time when more stability and co-operation is needed, not just around trade.

The acrimony was not unexpected, coming as it did after the US announcement on tariffs before the Summit.  Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), warned of the impact on UK businesses and local communities of the US tariffs, urging the government to work with our EU partners whilst we can to “prevent a global slide into protectionism that would make all of us poorer”.

The position of the International Chamber of Commerce was also clear, with Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal stating that “Open markets underpinned by the rules-based multilateral trading system have been a vital driver of prosperity across the world over the past 50 years….Tariff hikes will inevitably impact small businesses that often rely heavily on imported goods and services.”  

For those businesses not directly affected, it is tempting to dismiss these global spats as someone else’s problem or simply not relevant. Whilst we should not let them define our negotiations around any future trade policy, the escalation of any kind of “tit for tat” tariff increases will have much wider ramifications, particularly post Brexit when, despite the resilience and determination of UK plc, it is unlikely to be business as usual.

As part of the BCC network we are in an excellent position to make sure the voice of business is not only heard but listened to and I would encourage you therefore to contact the team at the Chamber so we can understand your concerns and support you where we can. You can email us at policy@liverpoolchamber.org.uk

And finally, in the spirit of global co-operation I feel I must mention the World Cup! Securing a place in the final 16 after an unprecedented win over Panama on Sunday keeps England at the centre of the world sports stage – best of luck!

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Will Waller, Director - Head of Futures at Arcadis, looks at the implications for future investment in UK infrastructure and possible alternatives post Brexit.

Posted by Will Waller

Director - Head of Futures at Arcadis

Fri 29th, Jun

Brexit means the UK will lose access to the European Investment Bank (EIB), an unintended and little-understood consequence of the UK vote to leave the EU. Brexit may not happen until at least 2019, but the issue is more pressing.  The EIB has invested £34bn in UK projects since 2011 but following the trigger of Article 50 in March 2017, a slowdown in loans to the UK has bitten.   Just £0.88bn was invested in UK infrastructure by the EIB in 2017 – approximately a 78% drop from the circa £4bn invested in UK infrastructure by the EIB in 2016. 

The role of the EIB

In total the bank has outstanding loans in the UK worth more than £48bn. Over 80% of these are in key infrastructure sectors - including energy, water, transport and telecommunications. High profile examples include:

  • £525m for the Beatrice wind farm off the coast of Scotland
  • £700m for Thames Tideway
  • £1.5bn for Crossrail 1.

The value of EIB loans to UK infrastructure in 2016 was commensurate with approximately 25% of infrastructure construction output in that year – a significant overall contribution. 

Why is the EIB so pivotal in the first place? The answer is simply because it exists and, being convenient, has ‘crowded out’ other sources of finance. It has become an important part of the funding model for private infrastructure development.

Weaning UK clients off the EIB’s readily-available finance is more important than ever if the UK’s infrastructure pipeline is to be delivered expediently. 

Weighing the options for infrastructure finance

1. The UK could remain a member of the EIB. 

However, this is unlikely as the rules state that members must also be members of the EU. Changes would need unanimous agreement by all 27 of the remaining EU countries. Given the current state of negotiations, this is unlikely, so other alternatives are required. 

2. The formation of an alternative (UK) investment bank. 

The UK has experience of setting up infrastructure-focused national investment banks. The Green Investment Bank (GIB) was capitalised with £3bn in 2011, to stimulate green infrastructure investment. The scale is much smaller than the EIB. By the end of 2015, the bank had invested over £2bn in 60 projects. The sale of the GIB to Australian bank Macquarie was controversially completed last year, demonstrating investor interest in these types of project finance bodies. 

The idea of a new UK Investment Bank (UKIB) to take up the slack from the EIB has been widely mooted. The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said it would study the idea of a state-sponsored UK infrastructure bank, but there are several reasons why this is not straightforward: 

  • It will require scarce capital, estimated by the Treasury to be £15bn - £20bn.
  • It would take several years to set up. KfW, the German government’s development bank, has taken the best part of a decade to achieve scale. 
  • The UKIB would be on the government’s balance sheet, unlike the EIB, expanding the government’s stock of debt just as it is trying to reduce the deficit. 
  • The UKIB would carry a greater risk profile, being relatively concentrated geographically. This is in contrast with the EIB, which is massively diversified across a whole continent.    

However, the EIB, GIB, KfW and also the Canada Infrastructure Investment Bank all show that infrastructure investment banks can be hugely successful in financing national infrastructure at scale. The setup of a UK entity is a big challenge, but not an insurmountable one.  

3. Alternative sources of finance

There are other options. The Chancellor Philip Hammond has talked about expanding UK government financial support to infrastructure, in the form of a broader UK guarantee scheme, whereby government underwrites lending to infrastructure projects. Infrastructure bonds or gilts could also be used as alternative sources of finance. Could Chinese and other international development banks and investors also have a key role to play?

The importance of private finance

Infrastructure has a disproportionate reliance on private finance, with at least 50% of the £500bn national infrastructure and construction pipeline reliant on it. 

However, relatively limited availability and high cost of private infrastructure finance reflects the aversion investors have to delivery risk. The loss of the EIB threatens to make this worse, not because it is an alternative to private finance itself, but because a lot of private finance depends on EIB involvement to make deals work. 

Filling the gap

Whilst there is no easy or obvious solution for accessing affordable private infrastructure finance in the UK, filling the gap left by the EIB is possible. Collaboration of all parties to the deal map is required to make projects more investable:

  • Do project sponsors and the supply chain need to continue to deliver greater certainty of outcome so that projects are more predictable and investable?
  • Would better value be delivered if the government shared some of the risk associated with project delivery?  
  • Through early involvement with project development, could investors work with other stakeholders to shape more investable projects?

The reality

There is no overnight solution for the loss of the EIB and fixing financing will require action by investors, clients, constructors and government alike. Infrastructure has a key role to play in the UK’s competitiveness but, whilst preferential access to finance is constrained, the industry cannot fully play its part in driving the UK forward.  

The challenge of replacing the EIB is just one of the thousands of initiatives that government will have to take to replace capabilities previously provided through the EU. The fact that the loss of access to the EIB is already having an impact on the market, highlights the urgency behind finding alternative sources of project finance and making projects as investable as possible, to make up for it.

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Gerry O'Leary, General Manager at Arriva's Southport Depot

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 22nd, Jun

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

Gerry O'Leary, General Manager at Arriva's Southport Depot

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

I would like to see a more adaptable futuristic road network which allows our customers to get to their destination quicker without any hold ups or fuss.

What does a typical working day look like?

The best thing about my role is that no one day is typical.  From dealing with the day to day running of our business and then creating new opportunities, each day has its own independent outcomes.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Focus on the outcome and don’t be afraid to look outside your comfort zone.

Where would we find you on your day off?

Normally in a fine eatery somewhere in the Liverpool area with my family. 

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

Challenge the norm because more of the same does not work.  Change is inevitable so embrace it. 

Who is your role model in business?

There are many people who I currently work with who inspire me.  The GM team, Head of Operations and our MD, daily offer golden nuggets which are incredibly insightful.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

Our region is a forward thinking area in all aspects of our industry. 

Partnerships form the basis of growth and our entwined thinking within the Alliance has helped customer satisfaction grow continually and rapidly.

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 15th, Jun

This week I was invited to speak to and present primary school pupils with certificates for completing their Children’s University passport. The 'Passport to Learning Scheme' rewards after-school club participation and is designed to help prepare youngsters for secondary school and the opportunities beyond.

Listening to the children talk about their passion for sports, drama, dance, music – and one young man’s assertion that he “works hard, plays hard” (aged 11!) – it demonstrated how the excellence of our primary schools can inspire so many opportunities to create our next generation of working citizens with the skills and talent that we want and need within our society.

Our curriculum at secondary school has become increasingly focussed upon the traditional academic subjects and a ‘results at all costs’ mentality which has permeated education for the past 20 years. Yet we see an ever-increasing challenge of mental health and wellbeing in young people, at least partially stimulated by an inability to adapt to such a dogmatic system that fails to adequately reward or recognise talent in some of the more creative or technical subjects. We have some outstanding secondary schools in our city region but the pressures applied to them frequently result in students’ personal development and employability talent to be subjugated in the pursuit of exam results.

Careers advice and guidance is fragmented and disjointed, lacking resources to genuinely enable all school pupils to be prepared for, and guided into, the available opportunities. The ONS data released this week for 2017 demonstrated that 11.3% of our City Region population (108,000 people) had no qualifications against a rate of 7.7% in Great Britain. Our unemployment rate was 4.9% against a 4.4% Great Britain rate. It’s not good enough and needs adequate resources, funding and coordination for schools to tackle the problem.

On 20th July, we will deliver our latest economic business breakfast and will welcome representatives from the Department for Education and the Institute for Apprenticeships to enable the voice of business to be articulated and engaged about the impending changes and reforms to vocational and technical education and apprenticeships. 

For those businesses who seek to recruit or train people through apprenticeships, it is essential that you engage with this session and provide the ‘on the ground’ evidence and experience. The introduction of T-Levels, the development of further apprenticeship standards and continued deployment of the Apprenticeship Levy are all issues that our businesses will be experiencing every day and we want Chamber member businesses to fully engage with our guests at the breakfast to bridge the gap between policy-making and reality.

The apprenticeship system is a very real and tangible output from the school system. Both have their flaws and it is imperative that our businesses can influence our policy makers with insight, experience and credibility.

Children’s University provided a snapshot of some young people with dreams, ambitions and excitement for the future. We cannot allow our education system to fail them and as businesses, must contribute our resources to ensure that our requirements are met in the development of future talent at school and within our apprenticeship and technical education system.

* Children’s University is a national scheme operated in Sefton Borough Council by Sefton EBP with graduation ceremonies taking place at Edge Hill University.

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Chris Witterick, Head of Operations at LAB by Capacity

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 15th, Jun

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

Chris Witterick, Head of Operations at LAB by Capacity – An innovative Co-working space and business incubator for commercial start-ups and social businesses.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

More opportunities for social businesses to deliver public services. They already work in the community, employ local people and deliver real social value.

What does a typical working day look like?

Usually an early start, overseeing the team at LAB and making sure we are delivering quality and value for our members. I’m not a fan of sitting at a desk, so always try and get out and about as much as possible.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Go to university! I pursued a professional golf career for around 10 years, which was great, BUT I regret not going to university.

Where would we find you on your day off?

Hesketh Golf Club – Although I have a 14 month old boy who is seriously getting in the way of my golf…

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

You can get anything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want.

Who is your role model in business?

Probably my dad. He left a secure job 25 years ago, reinvented himself and set up a business from zero. The business went on to be the industry leader in the UK and Europe.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

I’ve lived and worked around the world, and always looked forward to coming back to Liverpool. There is a real desire to make the city a success, and you get the feeling that most people are happy to work together to build something great.

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Gregory Kearns, Sales & Marketing Assitant at The Brain Charity

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 08th, Jun

Introduce yourself - name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

I'm Gregory Kearns from The Brain Charity. We are an organisation that helps people affected by neurological conditions in a variety of different ways including community activities, advice and practical support. Our centre doubles up as a room hire venue as well as having our Brain Food Café. I’m a Sales and Marketing assistant which means dealing with mainly room hire but I’ve jumped into all sorts of roles in the organisation when required. 

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

At the moment the Third Sector seems isolated; people donate but aren’t always connected to the outcome of that money or necessarily have an understanding of what the charity actually does. I think if we could change the culture and bring the Third Sector closer to the education sector then we would have a future generation who would have a better awareness and understanding of all sorts of issues.

What does a typical working day look like?

For smaller charities like The Brain Charity typical work days don’t exist. I could be producing material for our social media to give to our Comms Team, going out with our Community Ambassadors engaging with the public or taking people around our centre, showing off our wonderful rooms.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I don’t feel wise enough to be giving anyone advice, but I wish I could have just been less anxious. However telling someone to be less anxious is rarely helpful – or successful.

Where would we find you on your day off?

Don't try and find me - my sleeping face isn't pretty and it is best for all concerned that it remains hidden.

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

Learn from your mistakes - recognise your achievements.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

Throughout my childhood my grandparents were constantly working with the charitable sector. Every time we went around for Sunday dinner they would have so many interesting people there who they knew through the charity, but who ended being part of our extended family. I had worked briefly with The Brain Charity when I was at university, so when I emerged fresh-faced, I instinctively knew that that was where I wanted to work and start living the values my grandparents instilled in me – though I like to think that these values were innate in me.

The Brain Charity’s 25th Birthday is coming up - the party is on the 5th of July and I know a guy who can sort you some tickets! 

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Posted by Neil Ashbridge

Fri 01st, Jun

As the weather heats up so, I suspect, are tensions in households across the country, as we enter exam season. It seems timely therefore to reflect on the challenges which employers face on one hand, in finding suitably skilled staff, and on the other, the economic and social impact of not addressing the barriers which often prevent young people reaching their potential.

In the Chamber we have a long history of working with our local universities and colleges, in partnership with private sector businesses, providing work experience, mentoring and intern opportunities. I am delighted that our latest project is with Liverpool Hope Business School which aims to address some of the issues that businesses face in finding skills and the barriers many of our young face in achieving their full potential.  The project will bring business and students together through a range of initiatives such as placements, mentoring and networking events, while also facilitating a number of economic and business research projects.

With some notable exceptions however, there tends to be a less formal engagement process with the education sector more generally, and I believe we are missing a real opportunity to engage with young people at an early age to support their aspirations and give them the confidence and skills to develop their future career path.

The growth of our burgeoning technology sector in the city region is a pertinent example. With experts forecasting increased overseas investment from the US, Europe and Asia, we need to develop the right skills base to support sustained growth in the city region. Our local universities and colleges provide a source of highly talented graduates but could the private sector be doing more to grow talent from the city region itself through raising awareness and inspiring all students at an early age to consider the sector as a future career path? Engaging at an early stage would also help to create a more diverse talent pool and address issues around the gender pay gap. Providing local apprenticeships and supporting young people who want to set up their own business (through mentoring for example) are all ways in which we can start to expand and future proof our skills base.

There are already some excellent initiatives where businesses are working with the local education sector to inspire young people but we need to see more.

We need the capacity to deliver high quality and consistent employment preparation experience for our young people which we can only deliver in partnership and with a realistic level of resources.

The Government recently announced details of a pilot project with over 40 business advisers signed up to provide hands-on bespoke business support to schools to reduce running costs and maximise resources and budgets. The intention is that this will free up teachers to focus, quite rightly, on teaching. Advice will cover aspects of financial management including smarter ways to buy essential services like water or electricity for example, or innovative ways of timetabling classes to free up teachers time.

Admirable as this initiative is, could we not consider taking it a step further so that students can also benefit from this expertise which covers a range a skills relating to financial health and efficiency, not traditionally a core part of the curriculum, but essential for increasing employability and ultimately growing our economy, whether starting up a new business or working for a multinational company.

Other government policies have had a less positive impact, despite good intentions from successive governments, primarily because they have been vulnerable to, and undermined by, the swinging of the political pendulum. To achieve a truly successful programme of education for our next generation, policies must insulate our practitioners, students and businesses from upheaval every few years. The implementation of the apprenticeship levy has demonstrated the difficulties faced by learners and employers in changes to both the funding and the practicalities of the scheme.

We will be looking at the skills agenda (always a priority for our members) at the next Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) Breakfast Briefing on Friday 20 July which will give participants the opportunity to directly input their experiences to those who are tasked with making education work for business. Whilst the views of our FTSE listed companies are important, we also need to ensure that SMEs (which make up 98% of our business base) have a voice to influence the development of any future skills policy. The panel will listen to the practical impact that apprenticeship reform has had on business and discuss how policy will evolve in the coming years.

If you haven't completed the QES Survey yet you have until 11 June click here so you don't miss the opportunity to have your voice heard.

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A thriving North not only needs reliable transport connections within the region; people and goods also have to cross borders easily and get to neighbouring parts of the UK.

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