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23 Sep

23 September 2015

Andrew Smith takes up the mantle of Chair

Talent development and a clear voice for the region’s professionals: Coventry & Warwickshire First’s agenda for 2015 / 16

“One of the real challenges facing professional services firms in Coventry and Warwickshire is attracting, retaining and developing great talent,” said Andrew Smith, speaking at an event to mark his appointment as Chair of Coventry & Warwickshire First for 2015/16. “I intend to work with our Young Professionals to build on the success of our mentoring programme and develop our young talent further.”

Andrew Smith, a partner in law firm Shakespeare Martineau, is taking over from Martin Gibbs, Managing Partner of Dafferns Chartered Accountants. Andrew joined Shakespeare Martineau, which employs 120 people in its Stratford on Avon office, in 2009 and has been a board member of Coventry & Warwickshire First, the leading networking group for business services professionals in Coventry & Warwickshire, since 2011.

During his year in post Martin Gibbs kicked off a consultation process designed to develop a detailed understanding of the issues facing members and their clients: Driving Economic Growth in Coventry & Warwickshire. A key issue highlighted by the consultation is the challenge of attracting and retaining talent in a bouyant recruitment market.

The mentoring programme, also launched under Martin Gibbs’ stewardship, has already proved successful in addressing this skills challenge. Paired with a senior professional the region’s talented young individuals are able to accelerate their development.

“My ambition is to build on this excellent platform and continue the process of developing the talent within our region so local businesses can access an increasingly broad range of capabilities on their doorstep.

“The consultation process also deepened our understanding of the issues and challenges in the local economy and the role and contribution of our members. We are now taking our findings forward, projecting the voice of the region’s professionals to key stakeholders and showcasing the skills we can deploy to support businesses in the area.”