Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

You are currently in: Strategies and policies

Enable inclusive economic growth

12 February 2019

Help people in Essex prosper by increasing their skills

Essex is one of the largest and most stable economies in the country. The number of well qualified adults (achieving level 4 and above) in Essex is increasing but remains below the national average. Unemployment is low and the numbers of young people not in education, training or employment is also low. This success however means that employers have difficulty in attracting people with the skills that they need, and also have skills deficiencies in their existing workforce, which contribute to slow growth and relatively poor productivity. Lack of suitable skills to support in work progression is also a barrier for some of our residents to higher wages and economic inclusion. 

The Council will work with partners to ensure that workers in Essex can access skilled jobs through the achievement of higher accredited learning and that those in need of improved foundation skills can access learning. We will work with employers to foster their relationship with the Further Education sector and will encourage them to work with us to support people with learning disabilities or SEN to enter the workforce. As part of the skills system, the Council will also ensure that residents will benefit from a greater range of apprenticeships across Further Education and Adult Community Learning providers and we will continue to work with our schools to drive up the standard of education our children receive – so that every child has the chance to attend a good or outstanding school.

In the next year the Council will: 

  • Deliver 1,066 new primary school places and 2,198 new secondary school places 
  • Refresh the Essex Skills evidence base, in support of delivering a new Essex Skills Strategy and increasing productivity 
  • Deliver a campaign to increase adult English and Maths skills in key localities 
  • Increase the number of apprenticeships delivered through Adult Community Learning 
  • Ensure that every early years’ setting, school and college is judged to be at least ‘Good’ by Ofsted 
  • Continue to support the development of the School-Led Improvement System with the ambition of improving the inclusion of those children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and those who are disadvantaged 

Enable Essex to attract and grow large firms in high growth industries

Essex has a very significant small and medium size business sector, with a strong entrepreneurial culture. The Council wants to also attract additional firms to locate to Essex and benefit from being in Essex, and, in particular, grow and attract those larger companies in rapidly emerging economic sectors. Productivity in Essex remains challenging and is lower than other areas in the South East. In responding to the government’s Industrial Strategy, the Council will need to create more economic growth through Artificial Intelligence and data utilisation, new forms of mobility, and responding to the needs of an ageing society. While Essex has great connectivity to London, Cambridge and through its ports and airports to Europe and the wider world, its roads are congested at rush hour and commuters to London travel on crowded trains, with a negative impact on growth.

In the next year the Council will: 

  • Continue work on the new M11 Junction 7A scheme in Harlow 
  • Secure improvements for the A120 Braintree to A12 schemes 
  • Invest £117m of capital to improve and maintain the roads in Essex 
  • Influence the national agenda on transport by promoting a greater role for Transport East 
  • Continue to deliver a range of sustainable transport improvements for Chelmsford, as part of our £15m Chelmsford City Growth Package 
  • Continue to invest in Colchester, prioritising key transport corridors and sustainable access to the town 
  • Continue to engage with districts on Local Plan delivery to ensure the provision of sufficient and appropriate employment land 
  • Establish a pipeline of economic land investment opportunities for the Council in support of increasing the availability of commercial and industrial sites 
  • Invest a further £14m to get better broadband connection in Essex 
  • Establish the Brand Essex programme to promote the county as a business location of choice 
  • Implement a Local Industrial Strategy for Essex that will secure government investment to improve our infrastructure, help businesses to locate and grow in Essex and increase productivity

Target economic development to areas of opportunity

While Essex remains one of the largest economies in the country, performance is variable and some areas of Essex have untapped potential for economic growth. As a result, the economic performance in those particular areas is not as strong as it could be. Basildon and Colchester are long established economic successes, where there are now opportunities to increase productivity and more inclusive growth. Harlow is undergoing a transformation through the enterprise zone, the arrival of Public Health England and the new garden community of Harlow/Gilston which can create inclusive growth. Tendring, despite some significant inward investment, remains one of the least economically productive areas.

In the next year the Council will: 

  • Put in place Localities Plans for Basildon, Colchester, Tendring and Harlow to ensure the Council maximises its impact in promoting social and economic improvements 
  • Lead work with the Association of South Essex Authorities to develop a shared proposition for the future development of South Essex and engage Government and prospective investors in creating the conditions for the development of new housing and communities, improved infrastructure and an increase in good quality and sustainable jobs in South Essex 
  • Lead work with the North Essex authorities of Colchester, Tendring, Braintree and Uttlesford on the North Essex Economic Strategy and Action Plan, which will help create the conditions for existing businesses to grow and attract new businesses to locate in North Essex, creating more and better-quality jobs for residents and developing more prosperous communities 
  • Work with Tendring District Council and the Housing and Finance Institute to develop a joint action plan for revitalisation of Jaywick Sands 
  • Bring forward, with partners, the draft South Essex Joint Strategic Plan in support of identifying key strategic growth sites in South Essex