Mayor reveals regional plans for growth and skills

Oliver Coppard

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard will today – 14 March – unveil a new “Plan for Good Growth” for South Yorkshire, alongside the region’s first Skills Strategy.

This is designed to put the region on the path towards a bigger and a better economy.

The Plan for Good Growth and the Skills Strategy will support the Mayor’s overarching vision to develop South Yorkshire’s economic strength.

Both build on the establishment of the Mayoral Economic Advisory Council (MEAC) and Business Advisory Board (BAB) which provide expert voices on business and the economy within and beyond South Yorkshire.

Last year, South Yorkshire became the Government’s first Investment Zone in the UK, worth £160m to attract investment into the region, building on its reputation as the UK’s hotspot for advanced manufacturing.

South Yorkshire is currently the home of Boeing in Europe and the region recently received investment from Google worth £1m to contribute to research in digital health.

The Mayor’s Plan for Good Growth sets out how South Yorkshire will attract investment and income into the region and grow more secure, high-paid jobs.

It will achieve this by supporting the development of four Growth Areas – Sheffield City Centre and Innovation Spine, South Yorkshire Airport City, the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District and Barnsley Town Centre – as well as improving connection and community through investment in the region’s economic and social infrastructure.

The Skills Strategy sets out three missions that – together with the Plan for Good Growth – will ensure residents of South Yorkshire “can stay near but go far”. These are:

  • To move those far from the labour market into work or to be ready for work;
  • To raise attainment of core knowledge and skills; and,
  • To increase the supply of a high-skilled workforce

To help deliver these missions, the Strategy outlines seven programmes. These include expansion of Skills Bank – a national exemplar of public and private investment in upskilling the workforce – and a Taskforce which will design a South Yorkshire Young Person’s Offer to support young people to take the next step in developing the skills needed for work and life.

To launch the Skills Strategy and the Plan for Growth, the Mayor will chair a roundtable of experts at Barnsley College this morning, where he will invite attendees to discuss both strategies.

Coppard said: “Our Plan for Good Growth and our Skills Strategy – both of which we’re launching today- outline the practical steps and decisions we will take to get there.

“We can already see the South Yorkshire we want to build, taking shape. We know it will be cleaner, greener, healthier, wealthier and happier.

“So our Plan for Good Growth sets out a new economic model, one that recognises and builds on both our history and our strengths, but also tackles the big, long term challenges we need to overcome if we’re going deliver more jobs, more investment, and good growth; a growth model that lifts up everyone across Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield.

“Our Skills Strategy both reflects and reinforces those ambitions; setting our ambition to offer every single person the support they need to stay near and go far.”

Councillor Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council and skills lead for South Yorkshire’s MCA, said: “Our Skills Strategy sets out a clear framework for how we will support residents across South Yorkshire to succeed.

“Where too often learners and their needs are lost in a maze of partners, providers and programmes, they are front and centre of our strategy.

“This strategy also puts partnership working at its core, something South Yorkshire has always led the way in, and which is vital for giving residents holistic, effective support.”