Coutts boss calls for education to better foster needs of business

There needs to be a concerted effort to help equip school children with the skills they need to enter the modern workplace, the boss of one of Britain’s biggest banks has said.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post during a visit to Leeds, Mr Williams said that entrepreneurialism was on the rise in the country and that the education system needed to be shaped to mirror this in its curriculum.

He added that a better connected transport system around the North of England was vital to enabling easier recruitment and business links.

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-> Business leaders call for next Prime Minister to back Northern PowerhouseSpeaking about teaching, Mr Williams said: There is a lack of a focus on entrepreneurialism, business skills and tech skills. Those skills are relevant for the future.


“You hear the quote often that 50 per cent of the jobs that our children will do have not yet been created yet today.

“It is certainly a challenge. It is not going to happen and I think it needs a concerted effort across the board.

“There is a gap that needs to be closed and we need to have an effort across schools and education from Government.”

-> Yorkshire skill gap widens as business warns on competitiveness Mr Williams was in Yorkshire for a entrepreneurs event in Leeds in which he and his team are attempting to help foster links between business leaders to allow them to share ideas and advice.

Train services across the Pennines will be transformed if Northern Powerhouse Rail gets the green light from the next PM.

He said the need for this overhaul of education was being particularly driven by the growing trend of people forming their own enterprises and that this trend was being seen across all age groups.

“When we were growing up the focus was on getting a good education and then a good job,” he said.

“The whole mind set is changing now.

“People are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit. There have been lots of successful role models.

The CBI is warning that a skills gap is hampering the growth of the Northern Powerhouse.

“I think it is a change in mind set, not just withing Generation X and Millennials, it is across the board.

“There is a genuine desire from people to start their own businesses. People have much longer lives now and want to go after their goals.

“It is obviously not easy. You will see many successful entrepreneurial who have failed two or three times before becoming successful. That is being seen as quite the norm now.”

-> Concern over skills levels in West YorkshireMr Williams spent 13 years working in the North of England and has witnessed at first hand the difficulties the transport infrastructure imposes on business growth.

“I understand and know how difficult it is get from Manchester to Leeds,” he said.

“Whether it is on the trains or on the roads, it still takes a lot longer than it should do. You hear a lot of desire from younger generations who are quite happy to move out of London to the big university cities where there are so many opportunities and a great quality of life.

“Many of these cities have good connectivity to London or to get abroad. But is more challenging to get between these key areas.

“Getting these cities within the Northern Powerhouse properly connected is needed to help them prosper.”

He also had praise for the tech sector in Leeds which he said was shaping a new economy and helping to disrupt existing industries.