Lively IoD Jersey Debate Puts Politicians, Business Leaders and Teachers Under the Spotlight

A dynamic new format and energetic panel interrogation brought the IoD Jersey Debate to life last night as Jersey’s population policy, future skills and the Island’s education system were all brought into question.

The event, entitled ‘2050: Will Jersey Have Talent’ and sponsored by law firm Carey Olsen, sought to assess the measures available to Jersey’s government to maintain high quality education and standards against the backdrop of an aging population and funding challenges, looking in particular at population, skills, education and digital potential.

The Debate explored skills shortages now and in the future, the opportunity for Jersey to have its own curriculum, the potential of a Jersey University, developments in Jersey’s digital sector, teachers’ value and pay, immigration, how attractive Jersey is for young people and also diversification of the economy. The debate panel represented the corporate, digital, union, teachers and government sectors and included: Louise Bracken-Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Fairway Group, Brendan Carolan, Head of Social Science for Victoria College and President of the Jersey National Education Union, Daniel Rowles, CEO of Target Internet and Lecturer at Imperial College & Cranfield School of Management, Rory Steel, Head of Digital Jersey Academy and Senator Tracey Vallois, Minister for Education.

The event brought together over 400 business leaders, politicians, teachers and students to debate the topic. The new format, which saw broadcaster Alastair Stewart OBE question the panel on stage whilst ITV anchor Jess Dunsdon engaged the audience in each topic and challenged their views, created a lively atmosphere. Technological input with the use of Polling Platform enabled the audience to be surveyed throughout the event, with some interesting results:

  • 247 members of the audience took part in the polls
  • ‘Will Jersey have the talent it needs by 2015?’ – Yes (15%), No (15%), Yes – but only for some industries (40%), No – not enough to compete globally (30%)
  • ‘What Skills are lacking in Jersey’ – popular answers included ‘soft skills’, ‘problem solving’, ‘innovation’, ‘resilience’, ‘analytical’, ‘trades’, ‘coding’ and ‘creative thinking’.
  • Are our teachers paid enough? Yes (52%), No (48%)
  • Would you pay higher taxes so that our teachers could be paid more? Yes (38%), No (62%)
  • What subjects or activities would you drop from schools to make way for new areas of learning? Most popular answers were ‘Media Studies’, ‘Music’ and ‘Business Studies’.

Tim Arthur, Former Creative Director at Virgin Money and Global CEO of Time Out, flew over for the event to deliver an innovative and captivating keynote speech. He talked to the audience about technological developments such as Moodies, Deep Fakes and Braindecoding. He eloquently spoke about the inevitability of change, the need for creativity and authentic purpose and the need for agility and evolution in business.

Commenting on this year’s Debate, IoD Jersey Chair Lisa Springate, said: ‘It is imperative that the Island considers the best way to develop the skills needed not just for next year but for many years ahead. Furthermore, that we start preparing schools and businesses from all industries on what might be in store. The IoD Debate 2019 took on some hard hitting and emotive topics and the engagement in the room was highly refreshing.

My sincere thanks to our panel, Tim Arthur, Alastair Stewart OBE, Jess Dunsdon, and our sponsors Carey Olsen, KPMG in the Channel Islands and HSBC. Without them, we couldn’t have put on an event of this magnitude and I am very grateful for all their support. As a committee, we are committed to continuing to be innovative and agile to ensure we bring many more events to our members that help them prosper and plan effectively for the future.’


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