North East '˜ahead of target' to create 100,000 new and better jobs

The region is ahead of its ten-year target to create 100,000 new and better jobs by 2024, says the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 1:58 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:08 am
Andrew Hodgson

The organisation has worked with the business community and partners across the region to refresh its Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for 2017, to better reflect a changing business and political landscape dominated by Brexit and the challenges of globalisation.

The SEP sets out how the region can build on its recent successes and continue to create more and better jobs for the region.

The new SEP reveals the North East is ahead of schedule to reach its 100,000 more and better jobs target before 2024 – with more 53,000 jobs created since 2014, of which 63% are classed as higher skilled jobs.

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But the key challenges remain – delivering higher regional productivity as the gap widens with national performance, and tackling economic exclusion in some parts of the region.

North East LEP chairman Andrew Hodgson said the refreshed SEP provided a solid foundation to ensure the region is in a strong position to bid for new investment in future.

“In this context, we believe that now is the right time to be more ambitious for the North East,” he said.

“The progress we have made towards the targets we set out in the original SEP in 2014 has exceeded our expectations.

“As well as refreshing our delivery plan, we have also revised our key targets. Our aim will be to reach our target of 100,000 more and better jobs early and stretch that further.

“Given the need to address the productivity challenge, it is particularly encouraging that the percentage of better jobs created has reached 63%, already ahead of our original target.”

Sarah Green, Director of Member Relations and Regions and Nations with the North East CBI, said: “The North East business community has fully endorsed the refreshed SEP, which drew heavily on business input. The CBI places huge importance on regional growth to fuel national economic performance.”

Professor Sir John Holman, of the charitable Gatsby Foundation, said: “Productivity growth is impossible without skilled people, and the SEP is right to identify skills as one of its key enablers. Critical ingredients are good career guidance in schools and colleges and high quality routes to technical qualifications.”