Big Conversation Set To Inspire Stoke-on-Trent Employers On Work Experience

Young people from Stoke-on-Trent schools are set to benefit from the wisdom and experience of local business leaders as part of Business in the Community’s national Work Inspiration campaign.

On Tuesday, 23 November, 50 pupils will be at the King’s Hall, in Kingsway, Stoke, to talk to more than 60 senior business representatives from across the city about the benefits of work experience.

The Work Inspiration campaign, which has seen Big Conversation events held across the country, has been developed to encourage businesses of all sizes and types, across all sectors, to commit to improving and expanding the work experience they offer in order to bridge the gap between the classroom and the world of work.

The Stoke-on-Trent event is being hosted by Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Chief Executive John van de Laarschot, Sinead Butters, Chief Executive of Aspire Housing Group and David Darlaston, Regional Director of Business in the Community.

They will be joined by chief executives and senior officers from across North Staffordshire, including, Johnson Tiles, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, Stoke City Football Club and Kier Group, to discuss with students about how to create worthwhile and beneficial work experience placements.

“The younger generation are the city’s future employees and employers so it is important we invest time and effort to help shape their career paths. The Big Conversation gives young people the chance to talk to business leaders about how they developed their careers. It also allows us to think as a business how we provide work experience opportunities and whether what we offer could be improved. It is a great opportunity for our city’s young people and business leaders to unite in shaping the students of this city’s future career paths.”

During the day long event young people, aged between 15 and 18, will be given the opportunity to talk on a one to one basis with chief executives and business leaders about their experiences and careers. It will provide students with the unique opportunity to quiz business leaders on how they got to where they are today while also giving both parties the opportunity to review the benefits of work experience in business.

“Work experience acts as a vital link between young people and the world of business, so it is my firm belief that employers should play their part to ensure young people’s first experience of work is both challenging and rewarding. The Big Conversation is the first step a of crucial dialogue between young people and business, and in doing so will help the business to better understand how they can meet the ambition of young people, and provide the best possible work experience.”
“I am delighted to be involved in such an inspirational campaign which helps us, as employers, understand what we can do to make young peoples first experiences of work more meaningful and relevant In terms of deciding what they want to do when they leave school . It is great that we can draw upon the experience of the members of the Employer Board, which is made up of representatives from companies within North Staffordshire to inspire young people.”

Street banners to highlight Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramic future

Stoke-on-Trent’s world class ceramic brands are to be celebrated in a scheme to promote the city. 

As part of the city’s World Capital of Ceramics status scores of colourful ceramic based designs are being put up on lighting columns along the Potteries Way. The designs use images of some of the city’s 350 ceramic based companies including world famous brands such as Wades, Wedgwood and Steelite International. 

On Tuesday(16) work will start to put up the 92 banners along the stretch of ring road which welcomes visitors to the city. 

Sue Evans, chief executive of the Ceramic Industry Forum, welcomed the new banners as positive promotion for the city’s vibrant ceramic industries. She said:

“It is great to see the city council celebrating Stoke-on-Trent’s unique long-standing connection with the ceramic industry. There are more than 200 businesses based here in Stoke-on-Trent, from world class brands to pioneering technological teams. These banners will highlight to visitors the city’s unique culture and show the region off as the World Capital of Ceramics.” 

Stoke-on-Trent is home to more than 350 ceramic businesses including Wades, Wedgwood, Steelite, Johnson Tiles, Portmeirion and Aynsley.  32 per cent of the UK’s ceramic employers and 60 per cent of employees are based in North Staffordshire. Staffordshire University’s Master of Arts in Ceramic Design is recognised as one of the leading postgraduate programmes worldwide for its work in ceramic design for manufacture. Keele University’s Science Park is home to world-leading ceramics technologies and companies including BioComposites, who manufacture ceramic prosthetics. 

Councillor Brian Ward, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for regeneration, said:

“The Potteries Way banners are part of the city’s multi-million pound regeneration plans. They will showcase some of the city’s big names in ceramics and welcome visitors as they arrive into the city. The Potteries Way is an important link road to our city so it is great that the banners will highlight what we have to offer.” 

Chris Proud, Head of Marketing and Design at Steelite International, said:

“The ceramic industry is a big part of Stoke-on-Trent’s future as well as its history. The banners show just how many big names are based here. The city has a wealth of creative talent and it is important that it is recognised and celebrated.” 

Last year, during the launch of a major independent study into the future of ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent, ceramic industry figures united to say that the city has the right to describe itself as the World Capital of Ceramics because it has the world’s greatest mix of:  

  • Ceramic heritage
  • Ceramic skills and expertise
  • Breadth and depth of ceramic manufacturing capability
  • Ceramics research and development
  • World renowned ceramic brands
  • Ceramics design and creativity

The announcement came during the first ever British Ceramics Biennial – the UK’s only festival to celebrate, showcase and support the country’s breadth of contemporary ceramics. The biennial is a 10 week festival of exhibitions, awards and events by artists such as international designer Jaime Hayon.

We were fortunate to be at today’s launch and we have two short Audio Interviews for you to listen to.

The first is with Cllr Brian Ward Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the second is with Chris Proud Head of Marketing at Steelite.