The importance of building the talent pipeline and supporting SME growth in the post-pandemic economy was highlighted by Hertfordshire LEP’s Chief Executive in a thought-leading economic debate.
At the ICAEW London and East Economic Summit on 21 June, Neil Hayes said the Hertfordshire economy had proven to be resilient to the challenges of the economy.
Latest data for the county shows a population of 1.2 million with 727,000 jobs. In 2021/22, 4,394 new homes were created and 30,260 have planning permission.
Barriers to future prosperity included skills and workforce availability in key sectors and SME growth, Neil said.
He added: “We've had massive investment in life sciences, and film/TV at a time of economic challenge and this will bring additional jobs. We are planning for this now by working with schools and colleges.”
Skills provision could be boosted further he said by pooling at a local level, the unspent Apprenticeship Levy held by many businesses, to support students “to design what they actually want” and “throughput that dialogue to schools”.
Neil highlighted the LEP’s “small scale schemes” available for SMEs including the business expansion grant scheme “which is enabling SMEs to have investment capital that transforms their business with productivity increases and employment of more people, through relatively modest amounts of funding”.
He added: “This direct intervention has had an impact on a huge amount of businesses in the county.”