ESB Help Shape New Essex Economic Report

Essex Economic Report 2018

In response to the region's ambitions to become one of Britain's leading economies, an economic report was completed in March (2018) on Greater Essex (Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock). We are proud to have been able to contribute to this critical report which recommends that the Essex Employment and Skills Board (ESB) is supported in order to achieve progression towards the region's economic targets.

'Enterprising Essex: Opportunities and Challenges' was developed by the independant 'Essex Economic Commission' (EEC), with Dr Andrew Sentance CBE acting as Chair and Senior Economic Advisor, PwC for the report. This document will be the leading study in analysing the future of Greater Essex's economy, and inform on how it can position itself to become a more competitive economic power nationally.

We are proud to have been able to share our knowledge on the skills landscape. This information comes from our own Evidence Base which, among other insights, informs on priority sectors in Greater Essex, local skills performance data and qualification attainment information. Further Education representative on the board, Angela O'Donoghue, played a massive part in contributing to the report on behalf of the ESB and South Essex College, where she is the Principle/Chief Executive.

Core to this project is the insight into Greater Essex's current and future skills condition. The report acknowledges that "skills performance is improving but is failing to close the gap with the rest of the UK". Skills have a huge impact on the outlook of Essex's economy as it encourages sector growth and employment. Further headlines report:

  • A-Levels results are below the UK average but GCSE results for Greater Essex are above the national average
  • Apprenticeships for Greater Essex are at 0.82% of the local population (0.1% below the England total).
  • Qualifications at level 4 and above have risen by 7% from 2005 - 2015, and those without a qualification have fallen by 7.8% (lesser than the national average of 8.4%)
  • Universities collectively generate £405m+ annual turnover, 54,000+ students and currently employs 4,800 staff.

The report was discussed by business experts, economists and academics from the Essex Economic Commission at Anglia Ruskin University, Friday, 23 March. Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said that Essex saw its role and future in a national context:

“We need Essex to become a key part of a national powerhouse. Entrepreneurial Essex has a huge contribution to make to UKPLC. The Government has focused quite rightly on Manchester and Birmingham for the past few years, but it’s now time for Essex and the wider South East to receive infrastructure investment.

“We will continue to make positive steps with partners and work with Essex councils to inspire our residents and people outside of Essex to come and live, work and set up business here.”

The report suggests that, by supporting the board's employer-led approach, we will collectively be able to challenge the current skills gap and bolster business engagement. It is also commends the ESB's development of a localised skills strategy which is in-line with its long-term vision for skills in Greater Essex.

Dr Andrew Sentance CBE, Chair of the Commission, said: "Essex is a very multi-faceted economy, with a number of substantial centres of activity across the county and a very diverse range of sectors contributing to economic growth. The ability of different local interests to work together to engage national policy-makers and support broader economic growth will be the key to its economic success.

“Key findings from the report included that a much more ‘joined up’ approach to develop the economy, barriers to growth need to be removed in order to improve conditions, more commercial premises need to be found, the skills deficit needs to be addressed but many of the issues facing skills and education in Essex are national policy issues. Transport and digital connectivity needs to be improved as well as looking at how to improve education and employment in coastal areas. Essex has huge potential and can become one of the fastest growing economies outside London.”

To download the full Enterprising Essex report, click here, or click to download the summary and recommendations here.

We would like to thank Angela for her continued contribution to the ESB's own progression and for her important contribution to this report.