Thursday, 11 April 2013
City University Chancellor’s Dinner at Mansion House Wednesday 10th April
The Rt Hon Lord Mayor is Chancellor of City University and Cass Business School and annually hosts a fine dinner at Mansion House, attended by members of Council, faculty, students as well as those who annually receive awards from Livery Companies and other charitable organisations. For several years the Marketors have sponsored an MBA student at Cass as well as holding Think Tank evenings and other events at the University. Court Assistant Sue Garland Worthington and I had only recently enjoyed lunch with the Dean, Steve Haberman.
The Lord Mayor spoke enthusiastically about the opportunities to study at the University and did not think that visa restrictions on foreign students were biting on numbers. With a high ratio of City and Cass students gaining employment, optimism and enthusiasm was the order of the evening.
After an excellent dinner, the keynote speech was given by Dick Olver, Chairman of BAE Systems, one of the world's largest defence contractors. Dick recounted how he discovered that ShareSoc had chosen the Easter weekend to come out against his re-election as chairman of BAE Systems! Dick was awarded the prestigious Non-Executive Director of the Year Award at the 6th annual NED Awards sponsored by The Sunday Times in March 2012. In his speech he focused on the lack of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills training in the UK and the shortage of qualified engineers available to recruit in this country. In contrast Dick mentioned the many thousands being trained in India and China and this made me recall the visit I organised in 2009 for a parliamentary group to the Indian Institute of Engineering in Mumbai (the education funded by companies like BAE and massive foreign investment).
Each year the present Lord Mayor is appointed Chancellor and so there is a refreshing diversity brought to the role annually.