Wakefield Economic Strategy-People, Business & Places

19 December 2018

Wakefield Economic Strategy People, Business & Places

As we head towards Christmas, here’s a round-up of progress on Wakefield’s Economic Strategy as we head into 2019.

The Economic Strategy is based around our three key themes of successful people, businesses and places. Each theme is supported by a Board of peers and colleagues who focus on how we can guide our work to achieve the aims of the strategy over the next five years.

For more information, visit here.

Successful People:

Skills Pathway – We’re working to understand where school and college leavers, graduates and unemployed people would get information relating to employment and qualifications available in the district.

This also includes looking at the profile of skills and qualifications possessed by local people, so we can identify which sectors and levels may need enhancing..

Following this we will be working closely with local businesses to understand their needs and how this compares with local education provision. Is there a gap between the qualifications and skills on offer in the district, and what do our employers want? Once we have answered that question we will work together to plug any gaps to ensure that the district’s residents have the right skills and qualifications for local jobs.

This industry activity will involve working with key stakeholders in the district to look at the provision for both the unemployed and for those employed and businesses’ training needs.

Creative and Cultural Skills Pathway – At the same time we are looking at developing a training needs plan which specifically supports the cultural, creative and digital sectors within our district, and whether the right level of skills and qualifications are on offer. This will be progressed in more detail in the New Year.

Successful Businesses:

Deal-Based Business Development Pilot – One of the aims of the Economic Strategy is to ensure we as a Council are even easier to do business with. As part of this we’re refreshing our business engagement function so it’s as simple, clear and effective as possible.  Businesses will benefit from bespoke support that meets their requirements, and also importantly allows the Council’s service to focus intensive support into businesses with the greatest potential of delivering high sustainable growth and good outcomes for their workforces.

The pilot involves a business diagnostics process that drills down into a multitude of specific business functions, developing a critical path of support which fast-tracks business growth and delivers high value return. Outputs such as increased innovation and productivity, quality employment opportunities, leadership and development are prioritised throughout this process.

More than 50 businesses have undergone initial assessments, and at the moment four of these are progressing through the pilot. We are working with businesses to involve more in the pilot.

Growth and Innovation in Creative & Digital - We’ve drafted a Creative and Digital Sector Five Year Action Plan, which explores ways to support the sector and is aligned to the Deal Based Business Development Pilot.

‘No Wrong Door’ – Alongside our Deal-Based Business Development Pilot, we’re also simplifying the process by which businesses engage with the Council to access our many services and support functions. From start-ups and SMEs to major employers, we want to ensure our customers can access the right information for the right service at the right time, and are able to help themselves.

Successful Places:

Pontefract Action Plan – The Pontefract Action Plan has now been approved and is available here. The Action Plan follows the launch of the Pontefract Vision, and outlines the list of projects being delivered across the town to achieve its future aspirations.

Knottingley Vision – A draft Vision for Knottingley has been developed following consultation with local residents, businesses, community groups and key stakeholders. The Vision outlines the town’s ambitions against the themes of the Council’s Economic Strategy, and is due to be published in the New Year.

Wakefield Christmas Lights – Wakefield’s new Christmas lights have brought some additional festive cheer to the city centre. The Council’s Economic Development and Culture teams worked in partnership with the Wakefield BID and several city centre businesses to fund the lights, which were officially switched-on in late November.

Future updates will be published in the New Year as we continue to progress our activities. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about the Council’s Economic Strategy and how you can get involved in shaping our ambitions, visit: here.