An engaging full day conference designed to encourage networking, spirited debate and information sharing.

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Kindly note that agenda sessions and timings are subject to change.

9:30 am


Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe

Leader, Bradford Council
9:35 am

Welcome from the Yorkshire Post and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Chris Burn, Head of Business and Features- The Yorkshire Post
Henri Murison, Director, The Northern Powerhouse Partnership

10:00 am
Panel Discussion

Metro Mayor Debate

Oliver Coppard

South Yorkshire Mayor,

Andy Burnham

Mayor, Greater Manchester

Tracy Brabin

West Yorkshire Mayor,
11:00 am

Coffee Break & Exhibition

11:20 am
Panel Discussion

Skills Pledge

In our places, Metro Mayors across the North working with businesses alongside colleges and wider providers need to ensure that we are developing the people and skills required to meet the future needs of industry – a workforce ready to deliver major infrastructure programmes, in energy on transition to Net Zero, in health innovation, and on digital with current constraints on STEM skills and manufacturing as we move through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Andy Sharples

Projects Director , Sellafield Ltd

Sharon Lane

Managing Director, Tees Components

Darren Hankey

Principal and Chief Executive, Hartlepool College of Further Education

Professor Kieran J Fernandes

Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Development and Engagement) and Professor of Operations Management , Durham University Business School
12:05 pm
Panel Discussion

Breakout Session 1 - Innovation

Innovation is critical to the North’s future, and our places stand ready to lead the way, but we need to significantly increase investment here based on our strength within the N8 Universities and beyond. R&D spend currently is overwhelming focused within the Golden Triangle, short changing the North on a vast scale. This session will consider the role and need for further innovation accelerators, how we can support business-led innovation, what private and public sector partnership can unlock, and critically, the mechanisms needed to bring R&D spend under our control, correcting historic underfunding and tip the scales to ensure the North has the backing it needs to drive innovation across our places.

Simon Hughes

Community and Siting Director, Nuclear Waste Services

Professor Charlie Jeffrey

Chair, N8 Research Partnership

Lucinda Yeadon

Social Impact Manager, CEG
12:05 pm
Panel Discussion

Breakout Session 2 - Digital Connectivity

Improved digital connectivity is an essential component of unlocking the North’s capability and tackling the productivity gap. This session will consider the potential impact of transformed digital connectivity across the North, as well as exploring what are the barriers currently are, and the ways in which the North’s civic and business communities could tackle these challenges together.

Ammar Mirza CBE- Chair

Chair, Business Growth Board

Sara Prowse


Conal Henry

Founder and Chair, Fibrus

Stephen Church

North Markets Leader & Manchester Office Managing Partner, Ernst and Young LLP
1:00 pm

Lunch & Exhibition

1:50 pm
Panel Discussion

Net Zero Pledge

This session will debate how the business community is responding to the net zero challenge, In what ways is the North leading the way, such as in Carbon Capture and Storage or Hydrogen and what more government needs to do to empower the North to lead the transition to a greener future.

Bruce Heppenstall

Plant Director, Drax

Professor Richard Davies

Pro-Vice Chancellor, Global and Sustainability, Newcastle University

Dr Diana Taylor

Managing Director, Future Humber
2:35 pm
Panel Discussion

Breakout Session 3 - Transport

What are the key asks that would underpin a transport plan for the North, across the city regions and wider pan Northern network? This session will consider, in the aftermath of the Integrated Rail Plan, what we need in terms of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, as well as the roll out of mass transit and better bus connectivity.

Martijn Gilbert

Managing Director , Lumo and Hull Trains

Anna Heaton

Partner, Addleshaw Goddard

Helen Murphy

Head of Rail, Arcadis
2:35 pm
Panel Discussion

Breakout Session 4 - Culture

Transformative impact of culture, socially and economically. In light of Bradford’s successful City of Culture 2025 bid, this session will explore the long term social and economic impact of a thriving culture sector in the North’s towns and cities.

Kamran Rashid - Chair

CEO, Impact Hub Bradford

Kim McGuinness

Police and Crime Commissioner, Northumbria Police

Catherine Dewar

Regional Director North West, Historic England

Syima Aslam

CEO, Bradford Literature Festival
3:30 pm

Coffee Break & Exhibition

3:50 pm
Panel Discussion

Education Pledge

This session will debate what the main barriers are to our young people receiving the education they need, what the business community see in terms of the impact of low educational attainment by disadvantaged children within the communities they operate in and what role can business play in supporting educational aspiration amongst young people in the North.

Anne-Marie Canning

Chief Executive Officer, The Brilliant Club

Anne Longfield CBE

Chair, Commission on Young Lives
4:35 pm

Closing Remarks

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Kindly note that agenda sessions and timings are subject to change.

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