Guest speakers line up for annual conference

Former Southampton Itchen MP and cabinet minister John Denham
Former Southampton Itchen MP and cabinet minister John Denham
Commercial Road 
Picture: Jonathan Brady

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FORMER Labour cabinet minister John Denham has joined the line-up of acclaimed guest speakers at Hampshire Chamber’s fifth annual conference this autumn.

Also on the podium at the one-day Roots to Growth event is Formula One world champion turned organic farmer Jody Scheckter. He will be interviewed on stage by compere for the day, Dr Adam Marshall, acting director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.

The conference at Ferneham Hall in Fareham on October 20 is designed to bring members and business leaders together for a day of networking opportunities alongside a business exhibition.

Mr Denham, the former MP for Southampton Itchen, chairs the non-political, independent think tank the Southern Policy Centre and is a visiting professor and director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Winchester. He will talk about how companies can ‘grow’ their people and skills.

He said: ‘On the big challenges of developing, recruiting and retaining the best staff, employers need to work together as well as each aiming to be the best they can.’

Mr Denham added there was also a long-term need for businesses to invest in Hampshire’s arts and cultural development trusts in order to create an environment persuasive enough to tempt and retain potential employees and their families.

He said: ‘We need a cultural “wow factor” similar to that of Bristol, Brighton or Manchester – and we don’t have it at present. It has been shown that this is as important as individual remuneration packages, yet so many businesses still do not see the value for money.’

The Roots to Growth conference begins with a working breakfast at 7am around Brexit. The guest speakers’ programme begins at 9am before ending with a buffet lunch until 2pm.

The conference is backed by financial experts Smith & Williamson and Action Coach Business Coaching. The event includes business exhibition stands.

The conference costs £30 to Hampshire Chamber members and £40 for non-members. To book a place visit tinyurl.com/hkjfm6w or call 01329 242420.