Business Eye: My thanks to maths teacher Mr Hancock

Alex Pratt
Alex Pratt

It’s been a busy news week for the economy.

To start with, we witnessed the climax to Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix, and the start of the Tour de Blighty.

In a recent column I highlighted how big a deal sport is for the economy, so £100m being suggested as the economic benefit to Yorkshire of a bike race was no surprise.

Locally, the Silverstone Grand Prix is the biggest single annual spectator event in Britain. Wimbledon projects images of Britain around the world and brings us many tourist dollars.

Big economic news came in the announcement of £6billion of Whitehall budgets to be devolved to the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to bring forward jobs and growth faster.

Amongst other things, this fund and the flexibilities that go with it will allow the Bucks LEP to bring forward the road to the East of Aylesbury, start testing 5G mobile connectivity, and improve support to the businesses that generate all taxation in the first place.

It was however something altogether more human that has stayed with me.

Everywhere I go the resounding consistent cry is for ‘attitude and skills’, because being able to do something well is important but of no use if you can’t be bothered to use it.

The impact of skills, training and the management of people on growth cannot be overestimated.

It was a low key, understated, very English retirement bash on Saturday at my old school that struck me.

After decades of service my maths teacher was finally hanging up his calculator and heading for the coast.

As I stood amongst the group of colleagues, ex colleagues and old boys who had travelled to say “thanks” and having just myself been responsible for generating probably £50m in taxes, I suddenly understood that it is great teachers like Mr Hancock on whose shoulders we all stand.

Thank you Sir.

A teacher is for life; not just for year ten.