What is your involvement in the London mayoral campaign?
I’m chairing a campaign that takes place over the summer to try to secure Zac Goldsmith’s nomination for London mayor. Once the nominations are decided, the Conservative party will get behind one candidate, hopefully that will be Zac, and we’ll launch the campaign to win the election. It’s one of the largest single person elections we have, so it’s going to be a huge campaign.
What’s your current involvement in the events industry?
At the moment I’ve taken a step back from taking on any specific roles. Going through a general election is very intense so I’m taking some time out to decide my next move. I have no plans to return to my business (Rapier Group), which is running very well without me. I will be remaining politically engaged with the Conservative Party and the events industry, I’m just deciding what route to take.
Do you feel government apprenticeship schemes (such as Trailblazers) can benefit the events industry?
I think the Trailblazers initiative is great and I’m really pleased the industry is taking advantage of this. It’s quite a challenge and these things can only be successful if the industry buys into it and really places value on apprenticeships.
They’ve been proven effective across many different industries and I’m really hopeful that we’ll get behind it in the events sector. It could solve many of the challenges we have, such as skills shortages in management succession and skills-based succession. To be honest, as an industry, I think we’re often behind the curve on these things, so I’m really glad they’ve taken up this initiative.
University graduates aren't always the answer, either. A British Chambers of Commerce report noted that only 50% of students who leave university are actually work ready and for people leaving school the percentage is even lower. These apprenticeship schemes and trainee schemes are perfect for helping people make that shift from an academic environment to the work place.
More:Events industry responds to APPG inquiry
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