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Call to ‘work together’ to promote Humber region

Wilkin Chapman partner and head of the Beverley office, Teresa Thomas with Humber LEP Chief Executive Kishor Tailor, at the firm’s executive dinner

A CALL for the Humber region to unite and shout about its assets was made by business leaders attending a networking executive event.

Held at the Westwood Restaurant, Beverley, the executive dinner was hosted by leading regional law firm Wilkin Chapman solicitors. Humber business leaders from both private and public sector were invited with the purpose of gauging the opportunities and challenges being experienced by business, along with exploring their future needs.

Des Mannion, chief executive of the law firm, said: “These events have provided us with an open forum to discuss and dig deeper into regional projects, issues and opportunities with a view to help shape a better future for everyone.”

This is the fourth dinner Wilkin Chapman has arranged, with three previous events on the south bank. The evening’s discussions were facilitated by Humber LEP Chief Executive Kishor Tailor. The opinions and comments will help Mr Tailor and his to team shape future industrial strategy for the Humber and to raise issue with Government.

“We need to understand the barometer at a local level. We have access to ministers in London and they are looking for place-based intelligence. With that in mind, we have an opportunity to raise particular issues that exist on and around the Humber,” said Mr Tailor.

During the evening a rallying call was made by Mr Tailor along with partner and head of Wilkin Chapman’s Beverley office, Teresa Thomas, to ensure that the Humber was not “talked down” as a region. And, they added, this would happen in a more powerful way if public and private organisations on both sides of the estuary worked better together.

Mr Tailor outlined a unique pilot project that was already happening, which if successful would be looked at in other parts of the UK. “Single Conversation” is being run by the LEP and looks at any big planning development that is on the horizon. It then seeks to pull all the major agencies together – ensuring swift progress. It has already been successful, with developments completed on time as a result, he said.

“There are many positive things here on the Humber but we have to pull together and decide whether we are at the end of the road or at the beginning. All of us have a role in our positive representation of the Humber. If we don’t shout, then no-one else will,” challenged Mr Tailor.

Supporting Mr Tailor’s views, Mr Mannion added: “There is a lot more right here than wrong and we need to come together as one group with people who will stand up and lead.”

Wilkin Chapman, recently named as one of the Top 200 legal firms in the UK, employs 400 people across seven offices in Lincolnshire, East and South Yorkshire.

Other major topics discussed included identifying good leaders, training and retaining talent, raising aspirations and a need for improved infrastructure.

With regards to Brexit, Mr Tailor said firms within the Humber seemed to be “getting on with it”, with the economic signals relatively good and employment levels strong, however there were signs that companies were holding back on investment, with some expressing concerns around future labour needs.

Overall whilst unemployment levels were low, with more people in employment in the Humber, there was a need to refocus to create an economy that also provided higher quality and better paid careers and opportunities, he added.