April Curtin reports on the Quarterly Economic Breakfast.
I would be lying if I said that when I woke up at 6am on Thursday morning, I was looking forward to what I anticipated to be a morning of stats, stats and more stats. As a complete business-dummy, the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) Breakfast was not something I thought I would understand, let alone enjoy. I am, however, pleased to say that the event was one of the highlights of my week here at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, for a number of reasons that seem significant to point out…
To my surprise (and relief), discussions did not focus solely on statistics. Far from it, in fact. After providing a clear overview of how the morning would pan out, the Research and Policy Team began talking through their findings. Not only were their explanations easy to understand, but genuinely interesting to listen to, expanding across a range of areas.
Subrahmaniam Krishnan-Harihara (Head of Research) and Alex (Research Analyst) identified trends within Greater Manchester’s manufacturing, services and construction industries, making comparisons with the economic situation on a national level that enabled findings to be considered relatively. Discussion became of further interest when the team ventured into why business may be happening in this way, encouraging some really exciting conversations.
Brexit was (of course) a hot topic of conversation. Although it often came down to the doubt, delays and impending doom that many associated with the referendum, some important discussions were provoked by the subject, and a few laughs were still had along the way.
Overall, I feel it was this relaxed and friendly vibe that made for such an enjoyable morning. The event became more of a conversation than a presentation, giving everybody an opportunity to have their say. The team often opened up the floor to audience members, who gave some great insight in relation to their own sectors of work.
The discussion concluded with findings about ‘The Future of Skills 2028’ – a project exploring the skills that will be required in our fast-changing economy. Greater Manchester Chamber extended this quarter’s QES to discover some of the biggest challenges that future workers will face, as well as opinions that businesses have regarding current support given to young people. These findings were presented at the breakfast, and the team explained how they will be further engaging with people in business and education, equipping them with the knowledge and understanding to produce a range of short, medium and long-term solutions.
Chris Fletcher, Marketing and Campaigns Director at the Chamber, summarised the importance of the QES survey nicely, noting how, “This is from you – our members. This is what you are feeling and what you are experiencing. This is why we are confident in these statistics because this is what’s happening in the real world. This is why we need to get more businesses involved.”
Whilst the UK economy may remain ‘sluggish’ and ‘uncertain’, these experts and their insights into business certainly do not. I would strongly encourage all businesses to take part in the survey and attend the follow up QES Breakfast. Those who attend will gain a detailed understanding of the local and national economic climate, and discussion with experts will aid consideration of future business – whether it be your own business, other businesses, or the upcoming world of workers.
The quality and clarity of content that this team produce is not to be missed. And if that’s not enough to get you out of bed half an hour early, the free bacon and sausage sandwiches certainly will be!
Picture courtesy of Antoine Agricole