In his 2012 report, No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth, Lord Heseltine identified the tendency toward centralism as a major obstacle to economic growth, stating on page 31 that, “We must reverse the long trend to centralism… Policies that are devised holistically and locally, and which are tailored to local circumstances, are much more likely to increase the economy’s capacity for growth.”
This is undoubtedly true, but begs the question: “how do you go about devising effective policies and strategies tailored to local circumstances if you have little idea what the circumstances of your local economy actually are?” Furthermore, if you pour money into a region without first establishing its various economic strengths and weaknesses, is it likely that these resources are going to be used as wisely as they would if you better understood the dynamics of the local labour market?
Developing a strategy and enacting changes in any sphere of life is unlikely to be effective unless you first have a proper understanding both of what has happened in the past and what is happening now. You might occasionally hit the target, but by and large you will be wide of the mark. Economic growth strategies are no different. Understanding both the background and the current situation is vital , and so what is needed to facilitate economic growth is not just a realisation that localism is key, but also a good understanding of what industries, occupations and skills have driven and are currently driving the local economy.
This is why we are pleased to announce our presence at the forthcoming National Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) Conference on January 29th at America Square Conference Centre, Central London, where the focus is set to be on the progress made towards the agenda outlined by Lord Heseltine, of localism driving economic growth.
So why are we planning to be there? Simply because we not only believe that local and regional growth is the key to national growth, but because we also believe that we can provide LEPs with the knowledge and understanding of their local economies that will enable them to develop effective strategies for growth. From detailed industry data to occupation and skills intelligence, from highly specific economic analysis to local and national comparisons, we can give LEPs the tools that will enable them to find the fastest route to stimulating economic growth in their region.
This is why West of England LEP purchased Analyst in 2012: to help them understand the profile of the workforce in their area, and to explore how these profiles are projected to change. Analyst allows users to explore the relationship between industries and services to understand the potential labour market impact of job creation or destruction. In addition to understanding local skills requirements, West of England are using Analyst to model local employment scenarios and the tool is invaluable in providing key insights as they respond to the challenges presented in today’s economic climate. As Sue Attewell, Employment & Skills Manager at the West of England LEP said, “We’re really pleased to be the first LEP in England to access such a comprehensive dataset so easily. The data in Analyst provides unique insight into our local labour market and will play a key role in our work with local colleges to ensure we link economic development activities with the local skills agenda”.
So if you are attending the conference, why not come and speak to us on our stand in the Cornhill Suite and see our tools in action? Through our robust Labour Market Information and our easy-to-use tools, we can help you understand the shape and structure of your local economy, better placing you to fulfil your goal of driving economic growth in your region.