Revitalising the North East

first_imgTheCIPD’s North East branch has played a vital role in the economic regenerationof the region, providing solutions to develop the skills of the local workforce. By Ross WighamThenorth east of England has endured such a period of economic and social changeover the past few years that certain parts of the region are almostunrecognisable from just a decade ago.Regenerationhas been the watchword as the area struggled out of an industrial decline and amoribund economic framework towards a more vibrant, modern and high skillsenvironment.Alongwith other parts of Northern England the area is still in the midst of majorchange but for the first time recently, the North East attracted more talentthan it exported – a feat not achieved for many years.Suchmassive transformation requires careful management and from a peopleperspective the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) NorthEast branch is one of the country’s busiest.MoiraRankin, the CIPD’s North East branch chair has played an important role inshaping the region’s workforce, which is varied in terms of job type and spreadover a large geographical area.Atlast month’s AGM, Rankin was elected to serve a third year and, along with 20committee members, will continue to head up one of the busiest and mostchallenging branches in the country.Thebranch has around 2,500 members and because of the large number of universitiesin the catchment area is also very popular with HR students.”Wemeet on a monthly basis and we’ve had a very busy year. Every member receives amonthly newsletter, access to two events every month and we’ve really tried toencourage continuous personal development – that’s been a real drive for thisyear,” she said.Rankinexplained that the branch is taking an increasingly proactive role in the area’schange process and although much has been achieved, there are still manychallenges ahead.”TheNorth East differs from many other parts of the country in at least tworespects. First, it’s a very complex area that contains vibrant and successfulcommercial areas but also places of social deprivation and rural isolation,where job opportunities and skills development can be limited.”Westill have the legacy of heavy engineering and manufacturing and therefore needto attract and sustain new industries. The development and progression fromlow, through medium, to high-level skills in all areas is crucial to the area’seconomic success,” she said.Radicaland high profile projects like the Sage music centre and the Millennium Bridge,both part of the rebuilt Newcastle-Gateshead quayside, have been potent symbolsof the area’s rebirth, but rising employment levels and better quality jobshave been of more substance.Rankinbelieves her focus on skills is fundamental to future success when it comes toattracting the best employers to the North East and ensuring they are properlyserved by the local workforce.”Wewere one of the first branches to develop a training and development group,which helps our members network and share best practice and the latestmanagement thinking. The feedback from the profession has been really positiveand we’re hoping to do more work in this area,” she adds.Accordingto recent statistics, 28 per cent of people in the region suffer from numeracy problems,compared with 24 per cent across the rest of the country, and the CIPD is keento tackle the issue, as it is widely thought to contribute to productivityproblems.Aswell as her branch chair role, Rankin is also an official skills champion for theGet On North East Campaign, which is designed to help employers in the areadrive up numeracy and literacy levels. This involves spreading the word aroundthe HR community, promoting skills development and explaining the trainingavailable through the campaign, which is paid for by the Learning and SkillsCouncil. Rankinwants to continue this direct approach and believes that by working with othergovernment organisations HR can really contribute to the local skills agenda.”Oneof the key challenges will be working with other government agencies such asthe LSC, the Government Office and Business Links to develop the skills of theregion’s workforce. We can do this as a branch by corresponding with ourmembers on skills issues,” she said.Thebranch also hopes to establish a skills strategy group to work with majoremployers on improved training and development. This would utilise the skillsof senior HR committee members within the group who are already members ofbodies such as the LSC, the engineering sector skills council and enterpriseagencies.Anotherjoint campaign with the LSC, Young People Mean Business, is now in its secondyear and is designed as an awards ceremony for employers that actively recruitand develop youngsters in the region.Speakingat the branch’s AGM, Frances Pett the CIPD’s branch development manager, saidother regions should follow the more pro-active approach. “The North Eastis one of the busiest and most proactive branches we have. We want the branchnetwork to be of practical use to our members, really supporting people andhelping students through their qualifications,” she said. East–The CIPD’s North East branch has 2,500 members–The branch covers the counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durhamand the Tees Valley–The area has a workforce of around 1.1 million–Unemployment is currently around 5. 3 per cent Revitalising the North EastOn 15 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Umphrey’s McGee Showcases Their Evolution On Eclectic New Album, ‘it’s not us’ [Full Album Stream]

first_imgIt comes as no surprise that Umphrey’s McGee would lead off it’s not us with “The Silent Type”, a song that has grown out of several of the band’s patented “Jimmy Stewart” improvisation segments. The band actually released a timeline to show just how “The Silent Type” has evolved out of (what was known by fans as) the “Cig Stew” starting back in 2011, which hardcore fans can check out below. The deliberate choice to open this record with a song that reflects years of hard work shines a light on the band’s overall theme of evolution on it’s not us.Evolution of Umphrey’s McGee’s “The Silent Type”[Video: Umphrey’s McGee]Umphrey’s McGee’s sound has certainly shifted towards a heavier, more hard-rock feel in the past few years, and the relentlessly work-shopped “The Silent Type” is a perfect encapsulation of the hard work and effort that the band has put into this active shift in their sound. The song itself—a pulsating rocker with a synth bass lead and aggressive vocals from Bayliss—continues the 1980s-era sound that the band has trended towards over the past few records. Brendan Bayliss’ strong vocals match Kris Myers’ driving drumbeat, while guitar wizard Jake Cinninger leaves his mark all over the track, filling in the blanks tastefully throughout with epic runs up and down the neck of his guitar.The evolutionary feel that flows throughout it’s not us continues on track two, “Looks”. This track marks a huge shift toward industrial rock, a sound that is cemented by tribal-sounding drums and the use of a Nine Inch Nails-esque filter over Cinninger’s vocals. This track has Cinninger’s fingerprints all over it, specifically the trademark guitar squeals and scratches he implements to add to the track’s overall dissonant feel. His off-center solo towards the end of the track cements this as one of his best contribution to the Umphrey’s McGee catalog. “Looks” works in a big way, and one can only imagine that it will soon become a live favorite.The band swings from industrial to blues with the album’s third track, “Whistle Kids”, which quickly settles into a dream-state groove. The song’s looped whistling harkens back to the band’s “Off The Hip” improvisational set with Joshua Redman back in January of 2016. Umphrey’s McGee has always shown a knack for nailing complicated harmonies on their records, and “Whistle Kids” is another moment where the band’s hard work has paid off in that department. “Whistle Kids” shows the band taking a restrained approach, and it serves as a nice breather before the real progressive meat of the album kicks in.The groove-centric power-ballad “Half Delayed” qualifies as the go-to example of the mature songwriting featured on it’s not us. The song is concise and has an ethereal, groove-centric vibe that shifts up a few gears during a soaring bridge and syncopated chorus. Bayliss’ restrained vocals and Cinninger’s short-but-fiery solo bookends the three-minute-and-thirty-six-second stand-out track. While “Half Delayed” may be short, it packs a serious punch, with Kris Myers delivering the goods in a starring role on the drumkit, helping to create the song’s interesting and ever-shifting vibe.While “Half Delayed” is short and to the point, the album’s fifth track, “Maybe Someday”, wastes no time stretching things out and getting down and dirty. “Maybe Someday” is this album’s progressive-rock classic, with a shapeshifting time signature and multiple unique sections flowing into each other, combining wailing guitar, catchy hooks, and a perfectly-utilized, frenetic string section. Like many other songs on this album, “Maybe Someday” contains elements that have been road-tested at live shows from year’s past, with the lyrics over the song’s wild bridge appearing at the band’s “Making Lemonade” show in St. Augustine, FL on 4/11/2015. “Maybe Someday” is an expansive journey that will surely provide many nooks and crannies for the band to stretch out and improvise in the live setting. This song simply sounds like the total Umphrey’s McGee experience, especially the intense closing stanza, complete with an absolutely raging guitar solo from Cinninger. This is likely to be the fan-favorite off it’s not us.When fans saw that “Remind Me”—a song that’s been in the band’s live rotation for several years at this point—had made the cut for it’s not us, they rejoiced, as the bi-polar funk/metal rager has become a live staple since its debut in 2015. The song opens on a funky rock guitar, which locks in with a bouncy groove and some great underlying tones from keyboardist Joel Cummins. The song has a very poppy sound with accessible vocals, guitar, and drums, but that quickly dissolves away into extreme dissonance, with Cinninger once again utilizing scratching and screeching guitar sounds to transform the song into what is easily Umphrey’s McGee’s most intense metal that they have ever put on to record. The double-bass-pedal-laden drums drive the section forward, while Cinninger and Bayliss go absolutely crazy on their guitars, locking in for an unprecedented and prolonged take on speed metal. The relentless attack goes on for several minutes before the band mercilessly drops down to half-time and locks in for a slick (but still heavy) ending harmonized guitar part.After such an intense moment, Umphrey’s McGee shifts gears once again with a long-forgotten Brendan Bayliss solo acoustic song, “You And You Alone”. This song shows Bayliss at his most vulnerable, as he sings about his respect for and relationship with his wife and family. The touching number is given the “treatment,” and is very Beatles-esque with its use of a gorgeous string section that brings out the emotion of the track.“Forks” is an older, Cinninger-penned song that fans first heard on a four-track demo released as part of the album Mantis’ extensive bonus content. The song has been performed a number of times since 2011, however, the version on it’s not us shows that “Forks” has clearly gone through its own evolutionary process. On it’s not us, The track is marked by synth bleeps and guitar runs over a charging drum beat and harmonized vocals. The song’s “search for a light” refrain builds into a euphoric guitar explosion that is sure to delight listeners.“Speak Up” heavily features iconic modern jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman. Redman has maintained a healthy relationship with Umphrey’s McGee over the years, performing with the band several times per year for consistently can’t-miss shows. His contribution to “Speak Up” is prominent—harmonizing and soloing over the song’s intro and trading solos with Cinninger throughout. This track is a throwback to old-school Umphrey’s McGee, with Cummins anchoring the rhythmic melody while Cinninger and Redman do their deed. The song also features one of the Umphrey’s McGee’s most interesting vocal parts, with a full band harmony leading into a syncopated anthemic chorus from Bayliss.“Piranhas”, another road-tested Umphrey’s McGee song that will be familiar to fans, is dark and punchy from the get-go. The song’s ominous synth-bass and echoed piano lays a foundation for a great rock song—one of the most straightforward on the record. Riff lovers will adore the song’s chunky guitar part, and Bayliss’ catchy hook bleeds into an atypically restrained solo from Cinninger. This is simply a great rock song.If “Remind Me” has the heaviest metal sound of any Umphrey’s McGee’s song on the record, “Dark Brush” comes in at a very close second. Heavy and distorted right out of the gates, the intensity of this track centers on sinister guitar, anthemic harmonies, and another filtered Cinninger vocal. It’s an intense track with lots of guitar wizardry from Cinninger, who puts his exclamation mark with “Dark Brush”.In total, Umphrey’s McGee delivers another chapter in their long-and-winding musical career on it’s not us. The result is one of their best records yet; certainly one of their most ambitious. While the band has cemented itself as one of the biggest bands in the so-called “jam band scene”, this record is anything but a “jam band” record. it’s not us showcases Umphrey’s McGee at the height of their powers, seamlessly mixing familiar genres and sounds into their own unique and complicated musical stew—one that is now reaching perfection after twenty years of dedication to their craft.To honor their 20th anniversary and the release of it’s not us, Umphrey’s McGee will hit New York City for a three-night run at the Beacon Theatre from January 19th through 21st, 2018. In addition to these highly anticipated shows, Live For Live Music is presenting two official after-shows featuring members of Umphrey’s as well as longtime collaborators of the band. Following the run opening performance on January 19th, Umphrey’s own Ryan Stasik and Joel Cummins will team up with Matt Jalbert and Isaac Teel of TAUK for a very special “Tauking McGee” show at the Highline Ballroom.Ryan Stasik & Joel Cummins To Replace Brownie & Magner For Show With TAUK MembersThe second after-party on January 20th will showcase a one-off super jam formed by DJ and longtime Umphrey’s McGee pal Wyllys. Dubbed “The Will To Live,” the band will find Rob Compa from Dopapod leading the charge on guitar, while Mike “Maz” Maher from Snarky Puppy lays down his impressive trumpet skills. Those familiar with Wyllys’ NY Hustler Ensemble will recognize three alumni: former Trey Anastasio Band & New York Hieroglyphics man Peter Apfelbaum will be on percussion for the evening, while guitarist Chris Cartelli from Newton Crosby and keyboardist Zac Lasher from U-Melt will round out the all-star cast.Wyllys Taps TAB, Dopapod, & Snarky Puppy Members For Umphrey’s McGee Afterparty[Cover Photo: Shervin Lainez] eAs a band, Umphrey’s McGee has always attempted to push the proverbial envelope. Emerging as a powerhouse jam band from the Midwest in the late 1990s, the band has worked hard to circumvent the trappings of their genre. Their now-famous live shows whip the audience from one genre to another, from alternative rock to jazz, to metal and funk, and then back again. They fuse their wide-ranging influences to form one of the most unique sounds in modern improvisational music.Through the years, this growth has shown in the band’s recorded output, with each new record a reflection of their ever-evolving sound. With their new record, it’s not us, released Friday, January 12th, Umphrey’s McGee—who are celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band in 2018—delivers another musical statement. The album successfully captures their contemporary live sound and the world-class musicianship that defines the group while also showcasing a new level of maturity in their songwriting, weaving back and forth between genres while remaining centered on the progressive sound that they’ve honed over their twenty-year career. it’s not us offers up some of the best and most versatile songwriting that the band has ever laid down on tape. UM’s ability to mix dynamic sounds and vibes with ultra-tight instrumentation, intricate harmonies, and, of course, soaring guitar solos is ultimately quite similar to their live show.You can take a listen to Umphrey’s McGee’s new album that dropped today, it’s not us, below. Read on after the break for a full review and full thoughts on the album.last_img read more