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North East Local Enterprise Partnership publishes its Annual Review 2019-2020

Tribute paid to its ‘exceptional’ team and the resilience of the North East’s business community.

The Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Helen Golightly, has paid tribute to the LEP’s ‘exceptional’ team and spoken about how the region’s inbuilt resilience and strong community will see it through the coronavirus crisis, in its Annual Review, published today.

Referencing the annual government review of all Local Enterprise Partnerships, which resulted in the North East LEP being marked exceptional for its delivery, Golightly said: “This demonstrates our strong leadership and solid implementation to ensure that our strategic projects are delivered to make the maximum impact to boost economic development and create more and better jobs.”

The Annual Review 2019-2020 sets out the progress that has been made against the six targets in the Strategic Economic Plan, in relation to the number, quality and type of employment opportunities available, the proportion of the workforce that is in employment and economically active, and productivity.

The two headline targets are to increase the number of jobs between 2014-2024 by 100,000 and for 70% of these jobs to be ‘better jobs’.

While COVID-19 has since made these targets more difficult to achieve, by December 2019 total employment had increased by 57,000. Employment in ‘better jobs’ had increased by 70,400.

Other key achievements in the last twelve months have included the North East Growth Hub becoming a critical resource for North East businesses, offering support on the EU Exit and how to best mitigate the impact of coronavirus. The launch of a second Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot has also taken place in the North East LEP region, this time focusing on primary schools.

The government announced in March 2020 that the North East will be at the centre of investment in innovation, while a highlight within the North East LEP’s transport programme has been the region collectively securing £198m from the Transforming Cities Fund to invest in key sustainable transport projects.

Speaking about the challenges currently being faced by businesses, North East LEP Chief Executive Helen Golightly said: “These may be truly uncertain and turbulent times but rest assured, we continue to support businesses and communities.

“This region is not frightened of a challenge and I am confident that our inbuilt resilience and strong community identity will carry us through to the recovery when we will do everything we possibly can to ensure our regional economy is back to pre-COVID-19 levels – and stronger again.”

Click here to read the North East LEP’s Annual Review 2019-2020.

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North East LEP Annual Review 2018-19

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has published its annual report, detailing its activities during 2018-2019. Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East LEP, reflects on what’s been achieved for the North East during the past year.

The last year has been a positive one for the North East, despite the current uncertainty around Brexit and how this will impact businesses here in the region. As you’ll see in our annual report, we have continued to make good progress in our drive to create more and better jobs for the region, with more than 71,600 new jobs already added to the regional economy since 2014 – a significant stride towards our ultimate aim of creating 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

Our annual report gives you an overview of our five programmes of activity from within our Strategic Economic Plan. It demonstrates the positive progress made in each area and how, by working closely with our partners across the region, we’re working towards fulfilling our long term vision for the North East economy. It also details achievements and milestones in relation to the three funds that we manage – Local Growth Fund, Enterprise Zones and the North East Investment Fund.

One of our key events this year was the launch of the updated Strategic Economic Plan for the North East. More than 400 people joined us on the day to hear how the Plan has been refreshed and updated to respond to our ever-changing economic climate. The Plan sets the strategic direction for our work and I was very happy to see so many of our partners there on the day to learn more about the Plan and how we can all act as advocates for the region.

Many North East businesses, business support organisations and entrepreneurs are also actively involved in our programmes, from Scaleup North East, which provides bespoke support to ambitious businesses which are ready to achieve the next level of growth, to the Enterprise Adviser network, which sees business leaders working together with school leadership teams to strengthen careers guidance for young people.

Representatives from the business, education and voluntary sectors also sit on our North East Brexit Group, alongside the local authorities and trade unions. The importance of forming a group like this was clear, and it’s allowed us to have a collective regional voice and influence the national debate from a North East perspective.

Looking ahead, an important piece of work for us now is to develop the North East Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). As ever, this can’t be done in isolation and we will be developing the North East LIS in close partnership with stakeholders in the region and with government. The LIS dovetails with the North East Strategic Economic Plan and focuses on opportunities to strengthen North East productivity and standards of living.

Putting together our annual report always provides a chance to reflect on what’s been achieved and any challenges we’ve faced. It’s a chance to demonstrate the breadth of our activities, which cover areas including innovation, skills and business growth, and which pinpoint sectors where we know the North East has the opportunity to demonstrate strong growth: energy, advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, and digital.

There’s space for every part of our business community to be involved in our work and help us to work together to achieve our aim of creating an inclusive, sustainable and strong North East economy. You can read our annual report here and I hope you will join us in working towards an even stronger North East.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East LEP

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Annual review 2015-16

The past year has seen some changes here at the North East LEP. We’ve welcomed Andrew Hodgson as the new Chair and strengthened our Board with a number of new appointments. We enter 2016-17 with a dynamic and experienced team working, in partnership with the business community, towards our aim of creating 100,000 more and better jobs here in the North East by 2024.

2015-16 brought some real highlights for the region’s economy: in November we announced the creation of a second Enterprise Zone to boost manufacturing, export and innovation. We also helped to ensure that £120m of business support funding in the form of the JEREMIE fund remained under local control, to be used solely to support North East companies.

The number of people aged between 16 and 64 in employment in the North East is at an all-time high (70.6% in November 2015 – January 2016) and 1.2 million people in the region are now in work. This is the highest recorded figure.

These are just some of the successes which we’ve seen here in the area and we’re building on these achievements and moving forward with our implementation of the region’s Strategic Economic Plan, focusing on the key areas of business growth, innovation and skills.

You can read more about our work over the past year, and our ambitions for the next, in our annual review.

Helen Golightly, Chief Operating Officer