The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has today (Thursday 14 February) published its updated Strategic Economic Plan, which outlines how it will help create 100,000 more and better jobs for the region by 2024.
The newly updated plan reflects on recent changes to the global and national economy as well as the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union. It also looks at how the North East can maximise opportunities around the UK’s Industrial Strategy, particularly in areas such as green energy and an ageing population.
Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “2014 saw the publication of the North East LEP’s original Strategic Economic Plan, which set out in clear terms our approach to growing the regional economy and creating 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.
“Fast forward to 2019 and our ambition remains the same, but what has changed is the political and economic landscape we find ourselves in. We’re on the brink of leaving the European Union and a new Mayoral North of Tyne Combined Authority has been formed.
“It’s for those reasons and more we’ve chosen to launch a refreshed Strategic Economic Plan, one that reflects the significant changes we’re experiencing as a country, and a region.”
The North East Strategic Economic Plan identifies four areas of strategic importance that will improve the region’s economic competitiveness. They are the digital, advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences and energy sectors.
Five programmes of activity, delivered by the North East LEP and its partners, support these areas of industry to grow, helping boost the economy and create more jobs for the people that live and work in the region.
They include helping North East businesses to grow and scale, and to compete on a global level; embracing Industry 4.0 and integrating technology and innovation into everything we do; improving skills and careers education across the North East; forging better and more sustainable transport links across the region and Northern Powerhouse; and investing in major capital infrastructure projects.
Andrew continued: “Whilst the current economic and political climate may pose challenges for our region, it also provides a number of opportunities. The refreshed Strategic Economic Plan we’re launching today outlines how, as a region, we can maximise those opportunities to strengthen and grow our economy.
“A good example is the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change and promoting clean growth. Here in the North East we are the leading location in England for the wind energy sector and our world-leading businesses and strong local supply chain puts us at the very heart of the clean energy revolution.
“We’re also global players in the health and life sciences sector, with our infrastructure, expertise and research into ageing one of our major strengths. This year alone we’ve seen the arrival of The Biosphere and National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle Helix, and NETPark in County Durham continues to thrive, helping new and emerging health and life sciences business go to market.”
Since the launch of the Strategic Economic Plan in 2014, 64,600 new jobs have been created with 77% of those classed as better jobs, in managerial, professional and technical roles. The region has also seen improvements in its employment rate, economic activity rate and productivity.