Improving the quality of life for everyone across Leeds City Region is fundamental to the work of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) – it’s the thread that runs through everything we do.
We want skilled, productive people, with access to training to take them on to the next step in their careers.
Successful employers that provide good quality jobs and invest in their workforce. Modern infrastructure that makes it easy for communities to live and work in the region, and an environment that promotes healthy, active lifestyles and is fit for future generations to enjoy.
These are real and tangible outcomes that we set out to achieve in the ambitious Local Industrial Strategy we are developing.
Inclusivity is at the heart of our Local Industrial Strategy. Since the beginning of the year, we have engaged with over 750 people at more than 50 events in person and online, working closely with partners from across the region.
I feel strongly that young people should be involved in creating the Local Industrial Strategy. Those whom we have spoken to have strong views about the changing world of work, what they want from the place they call home, and they want to play a crucial part in any change that will impact on their future, whether that’s giving people more opportunities to be creative and innovate, or enhancing active travel as a viable alternative to cars on the roads.
Working with our colleagues at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, we have brought together an independent expert panel to review our evidence and provide advice, as well as commissioning in-depth research to examine our productivity gap, how we can further promote innovation, clean and inclusive growth, and a detailed look at two of our key sectors: health technology and clean technology.
We are also participating in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) to learn from international peers how new technology can help accelerate economic growth and social progress for the benefit of all.
We want everyone to aspire to live healthy lives with greater earning power through better, more flexible skills and a fair, progressive employment market. Building on the work of the Future-Ready Skills Commission, supported by the LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, we seek greater local powers over the education and skills systems so we can better direct resources where employers need them and help people to develop skills that benefit the local economy.
We also need to do more to increase productivity, competitiveness and spending on research and development among our region’s businesses.
The region is in the unique position of being a world leader in healthcare technology, with four out of five NHS national offices, public and private sector healthcare data platforms, the UK’s largest concentration of medical device companies, and world-leading life sciences clusters. Harnessing these distinctive assets could address the health issues people in our region face, lead to new treatments, and help us play a full role in solving national and global challenges.
Over the coming weeks we will test these priorities with our partners and stakeholders. Businesses and residents will have an opportunity to have their say on the contents of the strategy during the autumn. We are on track to submit our strategy to Government by the end of the year, with the final strategy agreed and published in spring 2020. In doing so, the Local Industrial Strategy will be a transformational strategy delivered in partnership.
Roger Marsh is chair of the Leeds City Region LEP