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Helen Golightly launches our 2016-17 annual review

Our Executive Director, Helen Golightly talks about a year of change and achievement as we publish our annual review.

Presenting our annual review for 2016-17 gives us time to take stock of our achievements and look at how far the North East economy has progressed.

It is also a valuable staging post to examine how growth aligns with the longer term targets the region has set to contribute more to the prosperity of the UK economy.

Our annual review reports on progress made against targets set out in the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) – the North East’s roadmap to creating 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

Our senior team details work carried out over the past 12 months in key areas to fuel economic growth – finance and investment, business growth, skills, innovation and Enterprise Zones.

The SEP itself was given a refresh to recognise a changing economic and political climate since the first version was published back in 2014.

Newly revised and based on wide-ranging consultation with partners and the latest economic data, it sets out how we can make the North East economy stronger and wealthier.

Economic analysis shows us we are in an extremely strong position to continue driving the plan forward.

I am delighted with the results of the SEP refresh process. We have a strong strategy that is supported by robust economic data and presented in a way that works for all our stakeholders.

It’s pleasing to be able to report that as of December 2016, there are an extra 58,200 jobs in the North East economy – a major step taken down the road to our 100,000 target.

We’ve raised our sights to strive for 70% of these new jobs to be better jobs – that’s in posts such as management, professional and skilled roles.

Our annual review reflects greater collaboration with the region’s business community.

Their input into the refreshed SEP and on-going support for work to hit its targets is vital.

Andrew Hodgson, the LEP chair, and all our board members are leading the strategic direction and delivery of the SEP with widespread business backing.

In skills, Ryan Gibson, our Good Career Guidance Benchmarks National Facilitator was named Career Educator of the Year at a prestigious UK awards ceremony.

Resounding endorsement of Ryan’s work and the huge steps taken by the LEP skills team to embed opportunity into schools with business advisors, to give pupils the chance to realise the job of their dreams through the Gatsby Foundation National Career Benchmarks Pilot.

I was also delighted to see the North East Growth Hub go from strength to strength over the past 12 months, successfully delivering hundreds of referrals to finance and business support providers.

And securing the £145m North East Fund for exclusive investment into hundreds of North East companies was a hugely positive achievement for regional business and future economic growth.

Booming levels of employment and low unemployment mean the North East economy is well placed to drive the SEP forward.

Its aims are set high, but we believe are within our reach, with the region’s stakeholders united and focused on the job in hand.

Read the annual review online now