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Ten minutes with... Al Wilson

We spoke to Al Wilson, the new general manager at Cockermouth's Centre for Leadership Performance, who has designed leadership programmes for big businesses like Google and Jaguar Land Rover.

Al Wilson

One month after taking up the role of general manager at Cockermouth's Centre for Leadership Performance (CfLP), Al took ten minutes to discuss innovation, superfast broadband, and taking the county into the 21st century.

Al has arrived at the CfLP on the back of 18 years experience managing leadership experts.

His previous role working at Impact International in Windermere involved designing leadership programmes for companies all over the world such as Google, Jaguar Land Rover and RBS.

New role

"It's interesting, there are similarities with my last role working at Impact International where I was developing leadership for blue chip corporations on a global scale.

"Now I'm just working within Cumbria which is exciting because there are some really world class state of the art businesses who are doing cutting edge stuff.

"I think the world doesn't know how much great stuff there is in Cumbria, and that's a lot to do with the infrastructure and traditions of the county.

"It's a bit like the Morrisons trap, they tried to deliver 21st century service while retaining their traditional grocer values and couldn't quite pull it off.

"So hopefully I can bring my experience from that global level and help in that respect."

Cumbria firm's 'World Changing' invention

"I think this is fantastic, I've worked and lived in the county for 18 years and i'm in no doubt that there's no shortage of creative and talented people with great ideas.

"But I think most people, even in Cumbria itself, would be surprised to know that we're producing things like this.

"Much like the rest of the UK, we're not very good at singing our own praises.

"It can be hard to turn an idea like that into a marketable product and I think that's what's so great about this company, they've managed to capitalise on their idea and make a profitable product, something which is difficult even for the bigger companies.

Superfast Broadband

"I think it's vital, the world of work is changing. One of the big challenges businesses face is a battle for talent, and we have to allow people to work in a 21st century environment.

"But across Cumbria the thing that gets in the way is infrastructure, obviously the geography and the sparse population make things difficult. People need to be allowed to connect on a global scale."

Sellafield Strikes

"I don't know a lot about the reasons behind why that's come about, but all I would say is that in a situation like that something has clearly gone wrong, and everybody needs to get round a table and stop it getting worse."

The future for business in Cumbria

"Words like innovation and talent are bandied around, but I see a lot of effort going into technical development and not enough into changing people's mindsets.

"Businesses have to be able to collaborate and compete, which is something I've seen in other sectors such as tech, but I don't think it's something businesses in Cumbria have really got their heads round.

"It's a great time to be doing business in Cumbria, there's a bucketload of opportunity and potential but also a lot of risk."

Read the article at

In Cumbria, August 21, 2015

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