Lawrence Barton DL

Lawrence Barton is an entrepreneur, businessman, and community champion. He is a senior director of a cross-sector business group and holds various prominent community leadership roles, including Festival Director of Birmingham Pride and Leadership Commissioner for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). In recognition of his community activism, in March 2020, Lawrence was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands.


Lawrence is an active community leader and equalities campaigner. For over a decade, he has served as festival director of Birmingham Pride, successfully transforming it into the second-largest pride festival in the country. However, his high-profile public role, particularly with Birmingham Pride, has left many unaware of his commercial expertise and his success as a serial entrepreneur and expert, particularly in the hospitality and skills and training sectors. Potential commercial and business opportunities Lawrence was often suitable for were usually missed because people were unaware of this expertise.

First retained by Lawrence in 2019, Bridgehead was tasked with establishing Lawrence as a thought leader, particularly in the skills and training sector, where he had significant expertise and knowledge to share, given his role as the Managing Director of independent training provider GB Training.

We were also responsible for fielding a significant number of media bids concerning his role with pride and hospitality and night-time business owner.


Our first step was to have a discovery meeting with Lawrence in which we discussed the technicalities of the skills and training system, what he perceived to be critical shortcomings of the system, and opportunities for reform.

Taking each of these individually, we then began to draft a regular series of opinion pieces setting out the case for reforming the skills system. Running in parallel, we also monitored the skills, training, and wider business news each day to look for relevant stories in the media for which Lawrence could offer comment. With an appropriate story identified, we could draft a short 100-200-word comment for placement in the media.

Lastly, we worked with Lawrence and his team to identify notable developments relating to the training business that we could press release and draw attention to the media.

To better inform journalists and other third parties about Lawrence's wide array of expertise, we created and drafted the copy for a dedicated website: Well curated and designed, the website showcases the full range of Lawrence's expertise, including his business expertise, his role as a community champion, and his expertise regarding skills and apprenticeships.


Within the first two years of our engagement, we secured a total of 68 articles read by an estimated audience of 4,000,000 people.

We secured coverage with either FE Week or FE News on average every month, either in the form of an opinion piece, comment, or news story linked to a press release.

As Lawrence's profile as an expert commentator regarding skills and training became more established, we were able to pitch him to national media outlets. Examples of this include Lawrence's interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme as well as coverage surrounding his comments on the need for tech apprenticeships within Daily Express.

The personal website was also invaluable. It continues to serve as a gateway for media bids to come through to us directly while informing visitors about Lawrence's more comprehensive expertise.

As a consequence of our work over the period, a Google search of 'Lawrence Barton' saw the first page of search results dominated by positive coverage surrounding his knowledge of skills and training. He also saw an increase in the number of commercial opportunities being presented to him, particularly among other independent training providers and colleges.

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