After a late night with the interns and putting them up at our homes, I started early by cooking a full Yorkshire breakfast for everyone from bacon and eggs to tomato and beans. The rest of our team joined us and we talked about our own internship ideas for next year. We are keen to stay in touch and agreed to set up a Facebook group to do that.
We walked into Harrogate to get the train to Leeds – a freezing, frosty morning but the town looked beautiful.
More leaders gave their time this morning and afternoon – Lucy Allen of Welcome to Yorkshire stepped in for Gary Verity and talked about tourism and business tourism in the region. You could tell from the questions that the interns had no idea about the breadth of what Yorkshire can offer and were really interested.
We went off to Leeds Grand Theatre at lunchtime where Amy Dutton of Northern Ballet Theatre talked about the challenges of promoting the ballet when they spend so much time touring. Claude, whose degree is in performing arts, had a lot of ideas which he wants to email. A whistle stop tour around the refurbished theatre with Alex Dalton left everyone wanting more and vows to come back to Leeds for a proper weekend.
By the afternoon, everyone should have been flagging. But next on were Theresa Lindsay and Tom Riordan of Yorkshire Forward with two very different aspects of what the regional development agency does and addresses. Theresa’s work is focused on attracting large international corporate to Yorkshire – and increasingly this is done using social media, targeted e-newsletters and using LinkedIn for background research.
Tom has a real passion for encouraging more diversity in all sorts of areas, particularly in business and was co-chair of the national Ethnic Minority Business Task Force which ran from November 2007 to the summer of this year. His knowledge and views were really the perfect end to a packed two days.
The interns were challenging on this visit and I think all the business leaders welcomed their input and ideas.
I know we are really looking forward to getting this going in Yorkshire next year and expecting to be as stimulated by this as others have been stimulating.
I was incredibly proud of Yorkshire and all we have to offer. I hope these interns will be Ambassadors for our region as they go into their jobs. We wish them every success and all of us would be happy to work with them in the future if the opportunity arises.
Most of all, considerable thanks to so many leaders for giving up their time and helping to build relationships for the future.