MKBLP Board Director Interview - Freddie Guilmard

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The media is telling us that we have a deepening skills crisis on our hands and with employment at its highest rate in some years, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to recruit new, skilled talent.

However, according to Managing Director of the Red Thread Partnership Ltd, and MKBLP Board Director, Freddie Guilmard, these challenges should inspire Milton Keynes businesses to develop good working practices which will enable them to nurture, and retain, talent from within: “There is not enough talent within Milton Keynes to go around. While much is being done to attract a pipeline of new talent, through the city’s new educational establishments and the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, it is vital that businesses do all they can to build a great culture, and engage their employees which will encourage them to stay and develop their skills internally.”

A long standing member of MKBLP and a Board Director since 2018, the synergies between Freddie’s position within The Red Thread Partnership and MKBLP are clear; the primary driver for both is to create partnerships within Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas to enable the business economy to prosper, while inspiring both current and future business leaders. “As a company based in Olney, on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, we can see the potential within the city’s businesses. It is our objective to work with these organisations, leveraging their strengths and helping leaders to develop their skills even further.”

“As part of our commitment to Milton Keynes we joined local business networks. Our membership with MKBLP, and my subsequent appointment to the board, not only provides us with a fantastic opportunity to engage with business leaders, but work with a proactive group who are advocates for improving the dialogue both within, and between, businesses.

There are many parallels between what MKBLP strives to deliver, and what The Red Thread Partnership works hard to achieve.”

A global consultancy specialising in leadership and organisational development, The Red Thread Partnership works with both blue chip companies such as AstraZeneca and smaller charities such as The Parks Trust. Founded by Freddie eight years ago, The Red Thread Partnership has made a considerable commitment to Milton Keynes.

Testament to this, was the 2016 launch of the company’s Fellowship programme, where ‘fellows,’ aspiring early to mid-career leaders, enter a year long programme which will help develop them into future business leaders. Endorsed by The Institute of Leadership Management, The Red Thread Fellowship, which is free to participants, has garnered strong support from the city’s educational establishments and the initiative has been rolled out into surrounding cities including Oxford and Cambridge.

“It is our vision to have a Fellowship programme running in every city by the year 2025.”

This commitment to developing future leaders, and harnessing fresh talent echoes the sentiments of many other local business leaders, all of which is needed if Milton Keynes is to retain and grow its pool of talent.

While The Red Thread Fellowship focuses on the development of the individual, at the core of the programme is the overriding objective to instil a greater degree of understanding of the world around them. During their time on the programme each ‘fellow’ will collaborate with a local charity or community-based programme, utilising their skills to help the organisation become more sustainable. 

“People are so busy; however, we are not only in the business of helping business leaders define their purpose, but to help them recognise and navigate their way through the world around them and this includes making the link between high performance and social impact – there is a great level of learning which can be achieved through community based activities.

While we are in the business of creating great leaders, we are also ingraining within them the fact that their skills can make a very real difference to the charities within their community.”

The parallels between this and the focus of the 2020 Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA) are clear.