Ken Kane is commercial director of Premier Partnership.

The Public Sector Show is the UK’s leading event for those looking to deliver smarter, better and more efficient public services. This year’s Show in London on 26 June covers four key themes one of which is ‘Workforce and Leadership’.

As one of the UK’s leading training and apprenticeships providers to the UK public sector, we are acutely aware of how important people and skills are to the delivery of public services for the benefit of our society and our economy.


Learning and development as a driver of culture change

As the organisers of the Public Sector Show say: “The Public Sector workforce has shrunk considerably in recent years amidst frozen wages and increasing expectations in a time of austerity; the ability to recruit, retain and train talented staff is an ever-present challenge. Meanwhile, unparalleled demands for change require transformational leadership and the ability to transcend old organisational cultures.”

With leadership and management training as one of our specialist areas of expertise, we know what an impact it can have on the overall culture and success of an organisation. In the UK, we are currently facing a major ‘productivity gap’ which is holding back our competitiveness and only by upskilling our leaders can we transform the way organisations operate, even with a diminished workforce.

Overcoming cultural barriers to change is something that will be looked at as part of the conference programme and I am keen to see the discussion about how learning and development strategies can support with this unfold.


Future-fit learning solutions

The public sector has the potential to lead the way in future-fit learning solutions, giving the private sector a best practice example to emulate. The way the public sector has embraced the Apprenticeship Levy as not just a way of hitting the Government’s 3 million apprentices by 2020 target but as a strategic workforce development tool, is certainly something that private sector employers who have been slow on the uptake could learn from.

We are one of the leading providers of the Operational Delivery Profession (ODP) apprenticeship standard to the Government. This team of highly versatile, multi-skilled apprentices works across Government departments to provide additional resource when needed during unprecedented times of crisis or change. Expanding this approach into other areas of workforce development could help to fill urgent skills and productivity gaps.


Attracting the right talent

I will also be interested to hear about discussions around recruitment and retention of top talent and how this fits into learning and development strategies at the Public Sector Show. Offering rewarding careers with lifelong learning at their heart will help to keep the most talented within the public sector as will more future-fit working environments/practices centred around people and skills.