The growth of the Humber region’s economy is continuing at a positive rate. The region has the lowest level of unemployment for decades and the highest level of employment.
This is partly due to the Humber LEPs investment and collaboration with partners in the public and private sector, with major investments supporting local businesses and infrastructure developments.
In the last year the Humber LEP has invested in infrastructure, skills and business support programmes, with aid from the Local Growth Deal programme and other Government funding. This investment has seen the confidence in the region increase; attracting new private sector investment that will create new jobs which strengthens our economy.
Words by Kishor Tailor, CEO of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
As we approach the festivities, we at the LEP can reflect on a year of hard work and achievement which has resulted in the economic growth that we are now seeing in the Humber region. Whilst the future remains uncertain, we believe that we have the back bone of an economy that can meet future challenges. We will build on this strength as we develop our Local Industrial Strategy.
With the LEP playing a key role in a number of developments across the region throughout 2018, I believe that we have been successful in being a catalyst for growth and a mechanism that has allowed partners to contribute equally to the work that we all have achieved together.
Our investment in the infrastructure of the region is having a positive impact on local business, and providing them improved connectivity across the North. With the start of work on projects like that of the A63 footbridge, the A180 South Humber Bank Highway works and further developments to the railways, the Humber has never been more ready to deal with infrastructure challenges that support growth across our key sectors.
One of our objectives is to support local businesses to grow and during the year we have been successful in supporting businesses locally through a number of vehicles ranging from financial support through our Growing the Humber Fund, and other measures including business support through our Growth Hub programme.
Local businesses can now access funds that can support their growth plans, with the recent launch of our Humber Business Growth Hub’s #GrowMySME programme £6million is now available to local business from the European Regional Development Fund.
Overall, our future growth will come from our key sectors. The Humber Energy Estuary is now well known nationally and internationally as the centre for the development of the energy sector including the Offshore Wind.
We are now developing a new plan for the next phase of growing the UK’s Energy Estuary as part of Humber’s Industrial Strategy, which will build on our position as the centre of the UK’s offshore wind industry.
As a key facet of this work, the LEP is commissioning a new Local Energy Strategy to examine how future infrastructure could reduce energy costs for industry, commercial users and local residents – including what the area will need to do to support the roll-out of new technology, such as battery storage and electric vehicles.
Our third pillar is employment and skills, to support the Humber’s workforce. Our agenda in this area is extensive with many partners contributing to the challenges we have in the region. One of the areas that we have pioneered this year is to provide comprehensive careers support to our students and learners.
Working in partnership with the Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC), the Humber region was named as one of 20 CEC Careers Hubs placed across the country earlier this year.
The Hub is already working with 26 schools, colleges and providers, covering 22,625 learners – linking students with businesses to consider future opportunities and provide advice to a high standard of achieving the Gatsby benchmarks.
To add to this, our work surrounding the LEP’s Employability Passports has been another extremely successful pilot; providing support for learning providers and organisations to improve the employability skills of their learners.
The use of the passport has allowed learners to record their improving skills individually, based around the Confederation of British Industry’s seven employability skills, including self-management, communication and literacy, and application of ICT. The pilot validation approach was approved by the LEP Employment and Skills Board and has produced some excellent results from across the Humber region.
To conclude, I am pleased with the progress of the Humber region and the work that the LEP has done to push this growth in a number of key areas. We know that our work is far from finished, as we have a number of important issues to face in the New Year.
In the midst of Brexit negotiations and the current debate over LEP Geography, we as an organisation are always aware that change could impact on future growth. Nevertheless, we will continue to work with partners in driving growth and in shaping the Humber into a region of great opportunity for investment and growth.
As always our ambitions for the region remain positive as we look to develop a robust Humber Industrial Strategy that will be focused and deliver the long term growth for the region.