July 20, 2019
A regional growth organisation has vowed to build on solid foundations and complete the delivery of a flagship 100,000-job creation plan after surmounting “uncertain times” to increase employment numbers.
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) says its Strategic Economic Plan, which works to create conditions conducive to a strong business and jobs landscape, is progressing well.
The body added work to increase the region’s scale-up community and boost younger people’s skills is also making a perceptible difference.
According to latest figures, highlighted in the organisation’s annual review that was published in June, there were 882,900 jobs in the LEP’s geographical area in December 2018. This represented a rise of 71,600 since the launch of its job campaign in 2014.
The figures also mean it is more than halfway towards its 10-year target of increasing its jobs pool to 911,300 by 2024.
Furthermore, the LEP said 49,800 – or 70 per cent – of the jobs are ‘better’ roles, which are classed as managers and directors, and professional positions such as civil engineers, doctors, laboratory technicians and graphic designers.
Helen Golightly, chief executive, said progress on its jobs campaign was pleasing, given the unsettled landscape.
She said: “There is no doubt that we are operating in uncertain times, but one thing is for sure, we will never stop advocating for the North East.
“We have solid foundations to build upon and through ongoing partnership working and clear targets, I believe we will continue to achieve great things.
“We remain committed to growing jobs and increasing the quality available.”
The organisation also revealed its Business Growth programme, focused on expanding the density of scale-up businesses by 50 per cent by 2024, is also making good headway.
According to the LEP’s figures, there are now 820 scale-up firms, which represents a 17 per cent rise on the number in 2014.
“North East scale-ups are employing a total of 74,000 staff and their turnover is worth £9.5 billion,” added Helen.
“The evidence tells us that what we are doing is working.”
She also acknowledged that while national figures show the region has the UK’s highest unemployment rate, the organisation is taking steps to make a difference by nurturing the next generation.
Helen added: “Our area faces ongoing challenges [but] we are championing a number of projects and programmes that are delivering significant outcomes.
“There has been particularly strong growth in employment rates among the young, and the rate of young people aged between 16 and 18 who are not in employment, education or training has fallen from 10.1 per cent to 7.3 per cent between 2017 and 2018.
“Ensuring our workforce has the right skills and competencies to allow both individuals and organisations to flourish will always be a top priority.”