Welsh Contact Centre Forum Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Welsh Contact Centre Forum Ltd's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Welsh Contact Centre Forum Ltd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Managing Director of the
Welsh Contact Centre Forum,
Rowena O’Sullivan and Sandra
Busby celebrate with Welsh
financial services graduates
The Welsh Contact Centre Forum is an industry-led
consortium which has helped to found a resilient and
forward-thinking industry. Led by Sandra Busby and
comprised of more than 300 employers, which generate over
£600 million for the Welsh economy annually. This includes many
major UK brands like Legal & General, Admiral, Centrica, Tesco
and the AA, all of which recognise what Wales has to offer for
their future services. Since their inception in 2013, the Welsh
graduate programmes managed by the Forum have recruited 169
high-calibre graduates, 45 per cent of whom are female, and
boasts an impressive retention rate, with more than 98 per cent
securing roles with some of nation’s leading employers.
We stand on the edge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a fundamental shift in
the way we will all live and work, but how do we evolve to embrace and benefit
from that change?
More than the three that proceeded it – the introduction of steam power, mass
production and electricity, the advent of today’s digital world – Industry 4.0
necessitates that individuals and industry alike face this question.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a total change to all aspects of the way we live,
work and interact with our societies. It encapsulates our adoption of disruptive
technology, the internet of things, limitless data and the power of artificial
intelligence into our daily lives, workplaces and governance. In this new time of
virtual reality, AI and big data are revealing the big pictures in the real world.
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 2004
»Located in Wales
»Services: Industry-led forum
»No. of employees: 11
»No. of members: Over 30,000
Welsh Contact
Centre Forum Ltd
This is something we at the Welsh
Contact Centre Forum and our
members have been working towards
for many years. As a strategic not-for-
profit business aligned with Welsh
Government strategies and Welsh
industry, we have established a hub
that is well placed to understand the
needs of our members and share
insights that allow the community to
adapt and prepare for fundamental
technology shifts.
Like all revolutions, Industry 4.0 stands
to level the playing field. The pace of
disruptive technological advancements
mean that we now exist in a time
where the fastest, not the largest, have
the advantage. The agile start-up can
innovate quicker than the multinational
that is burdened by established legacy
systems. This is a world where David
enters the fight as the favourite to
The importance of industry clusters
cannot be overlooked as UK businesses
face the need to evolve their practices.
Alliances between businesses,
academia and government, such
as those the Forum has worked to
forge, are more than geographic
concentrations of organisations.
Membership allows for collaborative
innovation, the building and training of
a skilled workforce pools and attracting
essential supply chain partners that
creates industry ecosystems that
drive job creation, economic and
Which industries will lead the
Darwin’s theory is as applicable to
business as it is to the natural world.
Those who adapt and evolve thrive.
While economies are fuelled by
competition, collaboration is the key to
success in today’s digitised world.
The innovative applications of
disruptive technology must be shared
across the spectrum of UK industries.
For example, big data helps Netflix
save $1 billion per year on customer
retention through delivering content
to keep users engaged based on past
viewing habits or similar programming.
In 2019 the Welsh Contact Centre
Forum joined experts from Centrica
Group, Amazon and Atos to launch
Data Confex: Artificial Intelligence &
Big Data. This first of its kind event for
Wales allows businesses to understand
how artificial intelligence will impact,
grow and transform their organisations
and act as a force for good to better
serve all members of the community,
including the most vulnerable.
Are the UK’s workforces
prepared for the revolution?
Consider the fact that modern humans
have been on the earth for around
200,000 years, yet an IBM study in
2017 showed 90 per cent of all data
had been created in the past twoyears.
The core of the Welsh Contact
Centre Forum’s work sets out to
address the specific recruitment and
training challenges, and skills gaps,
that Welsh companies face. We
work with businesses ranging from
theory is as
applicable to
business as it
is to the
natural world.
Those who
adapt and
evolve thrive
Sandra Busby, Deputy
Minister for Economy and
Transport Lee Waters and
Rowena O’Sullivan
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
start-ups to multinational leaders, to
understand how they must shape their
organisations to embrace and lead the
changes on the horizon.
In Wales we see digital start-ups
launch recruitment campaigns with the
aim of doubling, even tripling, their
headcounts to allow them to capitalise
on the latest developments and
bring pioneering services to market.
Likewise, large companies require that
same talent in order to shift from well-
established legacy systems to drive the
incorporation of disruptive technology
into their services and customer
journeys and fuel new opportunities.
Our management of the Welsh
Financial Services Graduate Programme
and the Welsh Data Science Graduate
Programme, which have benefited
from £6.5 million of European funding
via the Welsh Government, has
allowed us to establish and retain a
high-calibre graduate talent base in
southeast Wales, by developing the
key financial services and data skills our
industry is calling out for.
In collaboration with an impressive and
ever-growing consortium of industry
employers, we have developed and
are expanding strategic talent creation
initiatives in financial services and data.
Over a two-year period, these unique
programmes develop the nation’s top
graduates into industry professionals
as they experience a series of positions,
rotating across some of the UK’s leading
businesses, while also studying for a
fully funded master’s qualification,
specifically designed to reinforce
application of learning in theworkplace.
Who can join the revolution?
History proves that innovation fuels job
creation. While the opportunities are
great, the uncertainties felt by existing
workforces regarding the advent of new
technologies need be no less daunting
than when factory workers first faced
the efficiency of the assembly line.
The incorporation of disruptive
technology such as AI will lead to a
transition of roles. Businesses must
work with educators and each other
to address skills gaps and upskill our
workforces if we are to realise the
challenges identified in both the UK
government’s Industrial Strategy and the
Welsh Government’s Economic Action
Plan. The reality is that the need to
upskill our teams, while attracting and
developing a pipeline of new talent with
the necessary skills, is already imperative.
Still today, diversity, youth and
gender balance is missing in too
many boardrooms. This is 2020 and
we are entering a digital revolution
where our futures depend on
younger generations who are often
fundamentally overlooked. In order to
create the future, we must listen to
the opinions of the people who have
known nothing else, the digital natives.
In industry we talk about skills gaps,
yet we plan for a new world without
consulting those who will inherit it.
Gen X and Gen Z need representation
as do those from the BME community.
If we ask the same people to sit on
boards, they will share the same
opinions. True insight and creativity
require inclusive collaboration
and fresh ideas based on future
opportunities, rather than engrained
mindsets. If we get that right, we can
then start looking at true innovation.
Consider the
fact that
humans have
been on the
earth for
200,000 years,
yet an IBM
study in 2017
showed 90 per
cent of all data
had been
created in the
past twoyears
Front left to right: Rowena
O’Sullivan, Counsel
General and Brexit
Minister, Jeremy Miles
AM and Sandra Busby,
with the Welsh Financial
Services Graduate


This article was sponsored by Welsh Contact Centre Forum Ltd. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development