Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership (BHEP) used their meeting on 8th January 2008 to facilitate discussions on the challenges posed by the CESP.
50 stakeholders, including BHEP members and invited guests, attended the meeting signalling the significance of the CESP which is being viewed as the most important document in a decade.
Simon Fanshawe, BHEP Chair, began the session by providing some introductory narrative about the economic prospects for 2008 and asked attendees to consider how the credit crunch crisis and a reduction in public spending might impact on the city.
The CESP predicts that by 2017 the city will need to provide 8,000 extra jobs just to maintain the current employment rate of 75.6% and portrays an economy that is seriously under performing with a GVA below the national average.
Members and guests were divided into discussion groups (Land Use/Planning / Travel to Work, Employment/Inward Investment and Education and Skills) and were asked to identify practical solutions that key stakeholders could do to address the employment and skills challenge, focusing on the need to create high value jobs and fuel growth.
A number of ideas were suggested including:
- Forging stronger links between universities and employers to promote better understanding of the vacancies available and skills required
- Developing short postgraduate upskilling courses to provide a rapid response to skills needs in the local economy and running portfolio clinics
- Conducting accommodation requirements analyses to ensure employment space is developed to meet the forecasted future needs of the economy
- Establishing a forum for the universities, colleges and employers to encourage engagement around business needs and develop stronger links between education providers and employers.
The media sector was identified as a key area for driving forward the city’s economy and delivering high value jobs as Brighton & Hove has the potential to become a virtual hub for digital media companies. However, it was reported that the city faces a huge challenge, which could potentially see media companies forced to locate elsewhere, as there are not enough people to fill the jobs created in the sector.
Notes from the meeting will be forwarded to the CESP Steering Group, which is tasked to address the issues around employment and skills.
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