Gathering fresh perspectives on a sector’s skills challenge

An “Eisteddfod for business” was chosen as the winning idea at last week’s annual hackathon for the Cardiff Capital Region’s financial, legal and professional services (FLPS) sector.

Organised by Sweetmans and Partners, and held at the newly-opened Cardiff West Community High School, the event saw teams from six leading businesses consider how the sector can collaborate to create a skilled, talented and diverse workforce in an increasingly uncertain and volatile business environment.

Current and future leaders from Acuity Law, Hodge Bank, Legal and General, MotoNovo Finance, PwC and Watkins & Gunn worked in teams to develop their ideas, before pitching them to a panel of judges. To fuel their thinking, the participants also heard from Wendy Edwards, Senior Human Capital Leader at PwC Wales; Frank Holmes, Managing Partner of Gambit, and Chair of the Cardiff Capital Region Economic Growth Board; and Nick Batchelar, Director of Education at Cardiff Council, who each offered different perspectives on the challenge.

The pitch judging panel made up of Caroline Thompson, CEO of BeTheSpark, Lloyd Powell, Head of ACCA Cymru Wales, and Huw Morgan, Senior Non-Executive Director at the Development Bank of Wales, chose the ‘Enfys Challenge’ as the winning idea.

The ‘Enfys Challenge’ involves young people working in teams to solve real-life problems, before coming together at a planned “Eisteddfod-style” event to share their proposed solutions. The team wanted the initiative to help develop some of the skills outcomes in the new curriculum being introduced in Wales in 2022, as well as support pupils in their future education and career choices. It would also help foster closer working relationships between schools and the sector.

Chris Sweetman, Director of Sweetmans and Partners, said:

“The hackathon is proving to be a great vehicle for developing increasingly important non-technical skills, and for helping the sector’s current and future leaders build their networks and gain fresh perspectives. As the challenge had both a business and social angle, it also supported our commitment as a B-Corp and reflects the growing perception that business has a role to play beyond profit.” 

“The high-energy, and time-pressurised, hackathon format requires participants to quickly identify how they can work effectively as a team, and come up with fresh ideas to a complex, real-life challenge. The winning idea will now be presented to the FLPS sector group which will consider whether to take it forward.”

The FLPS Group comprises 25 firms from the region who employ over 10,000 people. Its priorities are to develop people and build networks, raise the sector’s profile and make a positive contribution to society – with the hackathon one of the key outputs from the group.

One participant said:

“I found the concept of the Hackathon, and the challenges that came with it, hugely valuable from a professional perspective. Being in a new environment, and out of the office, working with new people was refreshing.

“I also thought the guest speakers were excellent; they captured the audience and helped drive the key issue of the challenge from various viewpoints too.”

Lloyd Powell, Head of ACCA Cymru Wales, the event’s principal sponsor, said:

“We already know that teamwork, collaboration, creativity and interpersonal skills are among the vital skills for tomorrow’s financial leaders.

“The thought of promoting these skills through an event where young people are invited to consider their own responses to real-life challenges is one which immediately sparked interest and excitement among the judges.”

“The Enfys Challenge has the potential to become a  great vehicle for developing these skills, and for encouraging collaboration among the sector leaders of tomorrow, much like the FLPS Hackathon does for today’s leaders,” he added.

For more information about the event, visit: and You can also watch a video of the hackathon here: