The view from future leaders

WE ASKED members of our Connecting Emerging Leaders (CEL) programme what they thought Aberdeen needed to do to shape and secure its future as a prosperous, vibrant economy and centre for international business.

Our CEL programme members - future business leaders who are currently one or two steps away from a leadership position – discussed numerous ideas, suggestions and shared over whelming desire to see the city innovate, grow and develop.

While it was recognised the current economic environment is challenging, the future leaders felt the city faces a fantastic opportunity to change; foster an entrepreneurial environment and become a magnet for new talent.

Out of all the ideas from the discussion, the future leaders felt the most important one was the need to “change the narrative” – the perception of the region is vital to retaining and attracting talent.

After years of building a reputation as the oil capital of Europe, now is the time to highlight there is more to Aberdeen than oil & gas - it’s a vibrant, dynamic and diversified economy very much open for business.

The future leaders also felt it is vital to share positive news stories about the city so those outwith the region realise that, despite the tough times, the North-east resilience is alive and kicking.

They also understood that, as future leaders, they have a role to play in spreading positive messages and being an ambassador for the city.

Positivity helps to build confidence.

The Chamber’s Infrastructure Tracker showcases the substantial level of investments currently happening or planned for the region which, at £5.3billion, demonstrates we have a lot to be positive about.

As these projects complete, confidence will grow which will in turn act as a catalyst to attract new talent to the area.

New talent with the skills to continue driving the change to our economy is essential.

Diversity, fresh ideas, perspectives and healthy debate are key to navigating change and to counter-balancing the “way we’ve always done things” attitude.

We all need to ensure we are shouting loud enough about the opportunities available – not just in terms of jobs but also in terms of our reinvigorated and thriving cultural scene, amazing scenery and quality of life.

From a personal perspective, this discussion about the future of Aberdeen motivated me to put my money where my mouth is and stand for election to the Chamber of Commerce Policy Council.

As a non-Aberdonian, I came to Aberdeen to study more than 10 years ago and have decided to stay which is down to the quality of life, and the interesting and challenging work opportunities.

I am passionate about the region - I want to do what I can to support its continued prosperity and as a destination for new talent.