Gill Morris: Too much, too little, too late?


Category: General news

Arguably, Rishi Sunak’s ‘Plan for Jobs’, revealed in his Summer Statement, endorsed the omnipresent Build Back Better mantra championed by regional leaders.  It also brought the scale of the education, jobs and skills challenge ahead into sharp focus.  Now is the time to find concrete solutions for the North to reboot, rebuild, rebalance and recover. That’s why political and business leaders are gathering at The Northern Powerhouse Education, Employment and Skills Summit 2020 on Wednesday 15th July.  This will be the first major opportunity to set out what the North needs to level-up and reboot the Northern economy. Book your complimentary place here.

The fiscal statement offered some opportunities to build back and invest in our workforce as record unemployment looms. Sunak announced a £9 billion job retention scheme, a £2 billion ‘kickstart’ work placement scheme in a bid to create jobs for young people, a £2,000 apprenticeship bonus for employers, a £3 billion green jobs plan and an “eat out to help out” initiative that will give diners 50% restaurants in August to boost the struggling hospitality industry. This is all good stuff but is it enough? With the lack of any regional emphasis at all, let alone to drive the education, skills and jobs response within the Chancellor’s plan for jobs, it seems the only deal the Government is offering to the hard-hit North is a meal deal, not the New Deal it so desperately needs.

Northern leaders have been on the front foot; setting out how we can Build Back Better and deliver a skills-led recovery. Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis was out of the blocks ahead of the PM in channelling his inner Roosevelt, making the case for a ‘New Deal’ for the North. Jarvis’s vision includes: harnessing our innovation strengths with an ‘MIT for the North’, turbocharging the North’s advanced manufacturing base, a radical rethink of the skills and apprenticeship agenda to ensure it dovetails with industry needs, and creating the high-skilled, high-paid jobs to retain our talent. Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Region’s Mayor Steve Rotheram have also been bold in setting out their ambition to lead the way on clean and green growth and recovery, with Burnham advocating for a Future Jobs Fund-style scheme.

What powers and investment does the North need to Build Back Better? What are the priorities for business and the Northern Powerhouse in recovery? What does high value work look like post-Covid and how do we tackle record youth unemployment? All these questions will be tackled at the high level virtual #NPEESS2020. It brings together for the first time since the Covid-19 crisis started. Government decision makers, metro mayors, business, and key education and policy voices are coming together, including Northern Powerhouse architect, Lord Jim O’Neill, and devolution doyen Lord Heseltine, to Minister for Regional Growth & Local Government Simon Clarke MP and CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn. #NPEESS2020 will put the North at the forefront of the recovery agenda, unpick the challenges and help us bounce forward.

Don’t miss out on the first major Northern recovery summit and join us in kickstarting the debate on the importance of education, employment and skills to the North’s future prosperity.

Gill Morris, Chief Executive, DevoConnect

Book your complimentary Northern Powerhouse Education, Employment and Skills Summit ticket via Eventbrite using the code IEPFREE and email to find out more information.

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