It’s safe to say we finished this issue in a world very different from the one we began it in only a few weeks ago. The impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been as colossal as it has been rapid. My thoughts are with those in the NHS and the other front-line staff who are going above and beyond to keep us as safe and secure as possible. Our April magazine focuses on investment in the North East, something that is set to become more vital in the future. You can read about individuals, businesses and organisations who are investing in our region – bringing jobs, innovation, prosperity and recognition – as well as gaining an insight into the early support and perspectives around the coronavirus outbreak.
Our cover story this month features the Digital Steering Group that has been created to support the delivery of the North East LEP’s Digital for Growth strategy. Though we’re still in the early days of the strategy’s – and the group’s – inception, we ask Laura Partridge, Stuart Lynn, Alison Shaw, Herb Kim, Deni Chambers, Michelle Rainbow, Pete Daykin and Richard Baker how we can best maximise opportunities for digital growth and investment in the region. We also speak to banking expert Craig Iley, founder and director at B-North about a career that has spanned traditional to challenger banking. And we reveal how students at Northumbria University are helping SMEs combat cyber-attacks.
In this issue, we shine a light on the many and diverse ways in which education providers and businesses are combining to address skills gaps in our region. Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week 2020 (February 3-7), we look at how apprenticeships have changed over the years.
Our cover story this month focuses on the rise of North Shoring – the trend of organisations moving some or all of their operations away from the over-heating economy of London. We look at some of the professional services firms that have already chosen to North Shore and explore the opportunities for more to come to the North East. Deb Sharratt also reflects on the role professional qualifications are making to the public relations industry, while Dean Turner and Aidan Dunstan from global investment bank, UBS, make their economic predictions for this year and beyond.