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Already a home of world firsts, skills offer can ensure Hertfordshire remains a pioneer

Published: 10 November 2022Already a home of world firsts, skills offer can ensure Hertfordshire remains a pioneerHOP on laptop and iphone

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As well as being the County of Opportunity, Hertfordshire has a long-standing and justified reputation as a centre of cutting-edge innovation.

To name a few of these innovations, our county became home to the world’s first garden city in the early 20th century before other global firsts saw the original jet airliner and first wind-monitoring satellite developed here.

Clearly these notable and diverse global milestones, which span almost 120 years, were achieved through having people with the right skills available to deliver.

And now, with a number of paths widely available for people of all ages to gain new skills to start and further their careers, Hertfordshire is showing a strong determination and purpose to remain as a key pioneer of innovation for the UK, and for the world.

With more than 70,000 businesses calling Hertfordshire “home” and helping it to contribute over £38billion a year to ‘UK PLC’, enterprise and innovation is the backbone of our county’s economy.

Stevenage has become a thriving hub for the life sciences industry, with the cell and gene therapy cluster the largest of its kind in the UK. Meanwhile, the story is certainly developing at pace for the film and television industry in the county.

Hertfordshire is already a global leader in this, and its creative sector has rapidly expanded in the past 12 months, strongly establishing the county as a key location for film and TV production in the UK and as a prime destination for on-location filming with screen tourism a key focus for Visit Herts’ recovery strategy post-Covid. With further studio expansion planned, together with Sunset Studios’ proposed new £700m development in Broxbourne, the county is at the fulcrum of industry growth.

In just this sector alone, as delegates heard last year at Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Opportunity Hertfordshire conference which shone a spotlight on film and TV, up to 13,000 new jobs could be created, from catering to carpentry as well as other skills-related fields such as lighting, sound and wardrobe.

Higher and further education courses available in the county are crucial to this peek into the future and is also the case within other high-value sectors such as advanced manufacturing, technology and construction, where further opportunities are emerging to connect Hertfordshire employers with local talent.

These employment and training opportunities are featured on Hertfordshire LEP’s Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal (HOP), which acts as a comprehensive “gateway”. Whether that be for someone leaving school at 16 and looking for inspiration and practical advice on the right path to take, or someone changing career direction or planning to start their own business. It also gives support and advice to employers on such matters as apprenticeships and recruitment.

The Skills and Employment Strategy 2021-24, developed by Hertfordshire LEP in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, is further evidence of the county’s growth coalition and strong commitment to investing in the skills of the future, supporting priority and growth sectors, and building the future workforce needed to service a high-performing economy.

Hertfordshire Growth Board is supporting the LEP’s ambitions to develop that highly-skilled, high-performing economy through its individual workstreams, and palpably has a key role to play in this as a dynamic driver of place-making and sustainable-led growth.

Richard Roberts, Chair of Hertfordshire Growth Board and Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:

“Hertfordshire is a special place; home to some amazing businesses and thriving communities but we must give our next generation of young people the chance to fly by gaining the skills which are critical to a vibrant economy.”