Portsmouth businesses called to arms to inspire city’s children

The Shaping Portsmouth team, Matt Farmer, Keshia Stewart, Stef Nienaltowski, Gemma Nienaltowski, Stuart Brown, Vanessa Cooter, Liz Nienaltowski and Tania Chaplin. Picture: Habibur Rahman
The Shaping Portsmouth team, Matt Farmer, Keshia Stewart, Stef Nienaltowski, Gemma Nienaltowski, Stuart Brown, Vanessa Cooter, Liz Nienaltowski and Tania Chaplin. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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BUSINESS bosses and civic chiefs have outlined a bold vision of the future which they hope will inspire the city’s young people on to greatness.

Shaping Portsmouth, a project made up of business leaders and decision-makers in the city, held its latest conference yesterday at the Guildhall.

MP Stephen Morgan with Shaping Portsmouth organiser Stef Nienaltowski. ''Picture: Habibur Rahman

MP Stephen Morgan with Shaping Portsmouth organiser Stef Nienaltowski. ''Picture: Habibur Rahman

Focusing on inspiring the next generation, the organisation aims to make sure the city pulls together this year to give young people the best chance to secure a job, better education or start up their own companies in the future.

Speaking at the event was the group’s director Stef Nienaltowski. He stressed that to support the area’s future workers, businesses had play their part now.

He said: ‘The message I’m getting from the business community now is that they are getting people through the doors with all the hard skills but it’s those key soft skills that people are lacking.

‘Businesses keep hamming on at me saying they have to go through expensive recruitment processes, recruiting from Spain, France and Sweden.

Keisha Stewart from Shaping Portsmouth makes a speech.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

Keisha Stewart from Shaping Portsmouth makes a speech.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We’re saying they need to wake up and smell the coffee. If they want these skills they have to look at investing into the future.’

Mr Nienaltowski issued a rallying cry for the city’s traders to join the effort and volunteer some of their time to go into schools and speak to pupils about work.

As part of this year’s project, Shaping Portsmouth is looking to create a new flow of information for children – particularly those in secondary school – to help them understand what they need to do in order to achieve their dream job.

Entitled ‘A Road Map to a Career’ the project will create a new one-stop information service which will provide details on how to get specific jobs, from the grades needed to the future courses that are desired witin that industry.

Mr Nienaltowski added it was essential children were given access to business and work experience ‘at the right age’ and is appealing for company bosses to throw their weight behind this.

His pleas have been backed by Portsmouth City Council leader, Councillor Donna Jones, who said the island had a glowing future.

Speaking to the audience in the Guildhall, the Tory chief said the city’s economy was on the rise, with more people in work and big projects in the pipeline which will create thousands of jobs.

Cllr Jones said businesses were the ‘beating heart’ of the city and that it was important for them to be involved in shaping the future of Portsmouth’s youngsters.

She said: ‘We are aiming to create a quality place for current and future generations to live, work, study and to importantly invest.

‘To inspire the next generation we need to show them our vision to make sure they know what part they can play in helping to create it and shape it.’

She added: ‘For me, inspiring the next generation is not about giving a helping hand to a small number of talented individuals it’s about a whole city approach.

‘It’s about making sure that no-one gets left behind and that no-one gets held back and that everyone has the best chance possible.’

For more details on Shaping Portsmouth, see shapingportsmouth.co.uk.