An independent economic report on Greater Essex (Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock) was released in March (2018) in response to the region's ambitions to become one of Britain's leading economies.
The Essex Employment and Skills Board (ESB) has helped the Essex Economic Commission to develop this report by contributing research from its annual skills evidence base.
Released in March (2018), ‘Enterprising Essex: Meeting the Challenge’, the second and final report will be the leading study in analysing the future of Greater Essex's economy, and inform on how it can position itself to become a more competitive economic power nationally.
Skills have a huge impact on the outlook of Essex's economy as it encourages sector growth and employment. Further headlines report:
- A-Levels results are below the UK average but GCSE results for Greater Essex are above the national average
- Apprenticeships for Greater Essex are at 0.82% of the local population (0.1% below the England total).
- Qualifications at level 4 and above have risen by 7% from 2005 - 2015, and those without a qualification have fallen by 7.8% (lesser than the national average of 8.4%)
The report was led by Dr Andrew Sentance CBE, acting as Chair and Senior Economic Advisor, PwC, and was recently discussed by business experts, economists and academics at Anglia Ruskin University (Friday, 23 March).
In the report’s recommendations, it suggests that the ESB’s employer-led approach should be supported in order to challenge the current skills gap and bolster business engagement. It is also commends the ESB's development of a localised skills strategy which is in-line with its long-term vision for skills in Greater Essex:
ESB Chair, Adam Jones, who also acts as Head of HR Operations, Teledyne e2v, commented that: “The ESB is continuously shaping the skills system through our work and we’ve never been afraid of challenging the status quo to ensure that Essex’s businesses are heard.
“Our input to this report on the skills gap in Essex was vital. With even more opportunities on the horizon, we are making progress in closing this skills gap, although there is still a lot of work to do. Skills play a huge part in building Essex’s economy and we need to make sure that Essex is providing the right skills for what our businesses need to succeed.”
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, commented that Essex saw its role and future in a national context:
“We need Essex to become a key part of a national powerhouse. Entrepreneurial Essex has a huge contribution to make to UKPLC. The Government has focused quite rightly on Manchester and Birmingham for the past few years, but it’s now time for Essex and the wider South East to receive infrastructure investment.”