Region lacks skills to help companies grow, claims West Yorkshire mayor

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin has addressed her first annual Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), claiming businesses in the region are struggling to expand due to a lack of skilled applicants.
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Ms Brabin, who was elected as the region’s first metro mayor last month, reiterated her manifesto pledges of 1,000 more jobs for young people and to work to bring investment into the region from elsewhere in the UK and abroad.

She also mentioned plans to create a major film studio in the North of England, which had previously been mentioned in the run up to May’s elections.

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Ms Brabin claimed a priority was to help up-skill those living in the region, adding: “Listening to businesses, I’m hearing the biggest problem is around skills. You want to expand and bring on more staff, but it is about finding the people with the talent.

Tracy Brabin spoke to WYCA's LEP meeting this week.Tracy Brabin spoke to WYCA's LEP meeting this week.
Tracy Brabin spoke to WYCA's LEP meeting this week.

“We need to meet the carbon emissions target for 2038. It gives us opportunities in the green sector and re-industrialise those heartlands.”

According to West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), the region suffers from skill shortages for “technical roles at professional, skilled trades and technician levels”, which “constrains firm-level productivity and the performance of the wider economy”.

Ms Brabin also reiterated how she wanted to help create a film studio in the region, adding: “One of those suggestions (for boosting the creative economy) is for a film studio for the North, and identifying where we will find that funding. I’ve lots of plans for young people around digital skills.

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At a Mayoral hustings event back in April, she said talks were already underway to look into the possibility of making Yorkshire a major screen destination.

“I have already had meetings with the BFI (British Film Institute), and others, to talk about identifying a place where we can put National Film studio of the north,” she said. “We know the power of film, to regenerate communities, and bring jobs and skills. It can be done.

“It has been so frustrating that the Chancellor has seemingly a deaf ear to the creative industries, when, if you have their phone numbers, it seems much easier to get contracts and so on.”