From education to employment

Apprentice star urges future business leaders to avoid mistakes of the past

group of people at a panel discussion

On Friday 16 February, the day before he turned 80, Mr Hewer, a resident of Northamptonshire, joined a panel of guests including James Smith, Deputy Chief Finance Officer for West Northamptonshire Council, financial health advisor Cameron Waldron, CEO of Commsave Credit Union Dominic Masterson, and wellbeing specialist Mita Unalkat.

After opening presentations by the panel in which they shared their most enlightening experiences and explained their part in the world of business and accounting, they took part in question-and-answer sessions and workshops with the students.  

Mr Hewer told students that he had lived and worked through a period where a financially successful Britain had been taken for granted and that it was up to them to pull the country out of its current malaise.

Mr Hewer said the optimism of the 1960s had faded, British brands had been sold abroad and that industries created in Britain were now centred elsewhere in the world.

He said:

“Few countries have allowed their misguided sense of exceptionalism and the scourge of short-termism to damage their interests as we have done.

“A perception of many is that Britain has a uniquely superior role in world history, politics, culture and value, and these beliefs are perpetuated through education and political discourse, who can forget Boris Johnson saying, ‘we are leading the world’, no matter what he was talking about.

“Over confidence, delusion and self-importance are unjustified and will continue to come at a heavy price unless the next generation of business leaders, and that’s you, wipe away the malaise that has held us back in every area of our national lives for so very long.”

Mr Hewer warned students against the urge to make a quick profit and that if the UK wanted to compete on an international level, businesses and politicians must make longer term commitments to education, research, innovation and skills.

Dr Louise Atkinson, UON’s Deputy Head of Subject for Strategy and International Business planned the event and said it was organised as a professional business conference.

She said:

“I remember my first business conference in my 20s. I had a degree, but I was nervous and intimidated, I hardly spoke to anyone.

“Not only will students now understand how to maximise the benefits of events they attend in the future and have learned more about the world of business, I also hope they have been inspired by some of the exceptional experiences they’ve heard about.”

To learn more about Business and Accounting at UON, visit the University’s website.

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