2010 PPMA Conference ‘The Global Skills Race’ – Reflections From Dean Shoesmith

Hello PPMA bloggers – this is my first post as the newly instated PPMA President.

I very much hope that those colleagues who were able to attend this year’s conference enjoyed it as much as I did – we will be asking for your views through a survey questionnaire to be issued in the next few working days.

The keynote speakers did a fantastic job delivering highly motivational speeches, as well as providing content that was professionally developing and thought-provoking. All speaker, master class and workshop presentation slides will be posted on the PPMA website in the near future.

We had a wide range of keynote speakers styles and were – quite literally – kick started by the evangelical Dr Dennis Kimbro from Atlanta Clark University, USA, who provided deep insight into leadership traits required to take us through this period of public sector retrenchment. The oratory power of Dr Kimbro was, I expect, a new experience for what was predominately a UK audience and launched the conference with a high energy, high impact, keynote presentation.

Our next keynote speaker was Professor Katie Truss who provided brand new research from Kingston University Business School into employee engagement. Her academic work was published in the US last week through Harvard Business review – quite some achievement for a UK academic.

Our second day opened with the tremendously energetic Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe from Bradford University. Beverly’s address was highly accessible, whilst packed with academic rigour. Beverly discussed the leadership correlation between competence and engagement – she convincingly argued that to be an effective leader you need both in copious supply and this will be essential for public sector services over the next decade.

The conference concluded with the sensational Richard Gerver – former educational advisor to Tony Blair’s government and a recipient of the head teacher of the year award.

Richard delivered a vision of hope for the future, where he challenged us to be more risk-confident if we are to take the necessary steps to innovate and create sustainable change in public sector services and to derive the best possible skill-level from our workforces. 

I concluded with a ‘call to arms’ for conference delegates to go back to their workplaces and identify skills shortages, then take up the challenge to address this need, that in turn will impact upon service delivery for the benefit of our local communities – as well as the country as a whole – as we strive to come out of recession and compete within the hyper-competitive global economy. I estimate that if every delegate accepted my challenge this could be to the collective benefit of 1/4 million public sector workers.

Dean Shoesmith – PPMA President

By | 2017-07-30T12:23:36+00:00 March 25th, 2010|Categories: Dean Shoesmith|2 Comments


  1. Paul 11th April 2010 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    David MacLeod’s recent report makes a timely and compelling case for the introduction of Employee Engagement strategies across the Public Sector, highlighting that current economic constraints place even greater emphasis on the need to garner employee enthusiasm and discretionary effort as a means of achieving improved community services whilst contending with ever increasing pressures on resources.

    The words maybe becoming a bit passé – governments and cuts are historically synonymous, but there is a growing sense amongst public sector employees that this time it really “could be them”. Given that palpable sense of uncertainty, public sector managers and employees might just be in the right frame of mind for change – given a little prompting in the right direction

  2. Dean Shoesmith 12th April 2010 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Many thanks for your comment Paul. I agree the term ’employee engagement’ is one that might be over used. Given the chasm of the national debt staring us in the face and the need for radical reform in public sector services to pay for it all we’ll need our workforces to be focussed on providing high-quality services. It may well be that they work in different ways, or with different service providers, but with sound leadership and engaging employees this should be possible. Without sound leadership and effective engagement there is danger of service failure or change being enacted in a knee-jerk fashion.


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