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I Have Never...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


"I Have Never been to a Regional Economic Strategy Review before."

(Apologies, there now follows a work related post...)

The venue was Queen's Hotel, Leeds. As I've been given the job of developing business in the Public Sector, what better way to start my networking than this gathering of the great and the good?

The start time was 9.30am. As per usual, I overestimated how long it would take to get there, and so had half an hour to scoot around the Virgin Megastore. Hence, I found myself in the corner of a lobby next to where the event was with

a) 1 cup of coffee,
b) 1 black brochure documenting the agenda and background information, and
c) all my jacket and trouser pockets full of CDs.

Having not been to an event like this before, I found it intensely intimidating. I looked for a face who I knew, but none were forthcoming. It was with some relief that, after 15 or 20 minutes of pretending to be deeply engrossed in the brochure, a fellow from the University of York came and chatted to me. It was clear from the outset of our conversation that his reasons for attending were quite different to mine, but I latched onto him until we entered the hall for the initial speakers.

From 10 until 10.45, we were bombarded with inspirational words from the following people:-
a) The Chair of Yorkshire Forward (our local Regional Development Agency),
b) A representative from the Government,
c) A representative from the local council, and
d) A Strategy Director (again from Yorkshire Forward).

We were then shepherded into 5 separate 'workshops'. Now, my concept of the term workshop is maybe slightly different having been involved heavily in theatre for the last few years. To me a workshop does not usually involve 30-40 odd people all sitting face forward in rows (in a poorly air conditioned excuse for a room) while someone chairs a discussion.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not entirely conducive to free speech. Looking at the backs of lots of other people's heads. Maybe if we'd been sat in a circle...

I'd plumped for the 'Business' Workshop when I filled in my application form. From the feedback later, I think I picked the right one. Even so, I reckon I may well have been the youngest there by a couple of years. I loitered at the back.

The Chair of Yorkshire Forward ducked his head in. I took my moment and made a few comments on the nature of Raising Awareness about Management Training Courses, and how support was out there, but often the message was blocked by over zealous receptionists. There was some head nodding, and the chair of our workshops felt it pertinent to feedback to the whole event when we re-entered the great hall at noon.

Feedback was collated from all 5 workshops, before questions were allowed from the floor. At this point, I couldn't think of any further pertinent comments, so kept schtum. Some other people who should have kept schtum talked. In particular, one old chap springs to mind. He went into a long diatribe about the Railway Provision between Leeds and Bradford. Clearly he had studied the historical facts in some detail, and was well on the way to providing us with a ten minute lesson before he got cut off in his prime by the panel.

Comments from the RSPB and the bloke I'd spoken to earlier from York proved more relevant.

We broke for lunch. A client of ours grabbed me for a chat. I chatted to another bloke from Rotherham over a bite to eat.

Then, I escaped.

Note to self - definitely more preparation required before I attend another of those...

"When did you last feel a bit out of your depth?"

For your listening pleasure:
The Magic Numbers: Forever Lost - Yeah, I know I was raving about them last week. They're still as good now, and the video's not bad either.

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