Which is more interesting?
Watching paint dry
UK Industrial Strategy
If you ran that poll on Twitter I’m fairly sure which one would win. What if you ran it with business owners in Lancashire? There are over 50,000 of us. So how many do you think would pick Option 2?
In a climate of huge political distraction and rising national discontent, there is a strong temptation to switch off from anything and everything brought up by government officials. Keep calm and carry on. Get your head down and focus on sustaining and growing your own business. Why on earth would you do anything else?
Lancashire companies are extremely good at getting on with business.
Our impressive manufacturing results are just one demonstration of Lancashire’s appetite for success. But it pains me to say that despite that success, we are a county which tends to remain silent. Preferring to crack on, we don’t often talk about what we achieve. I mean, how many of our home-grown business leaders are on the BBC ‘call an expert’ list for media interviews?
But if we don’t stand up now and shout about how Lancashire can contribute to the UK Industrial Strategy to someone who will listen, our already quiet voices will become silenced. Particularly when we speak in close proximity to the loud halers of Manchester and Liverpool.
We are working hard enough as it is. And economic trading environments look set to get even harder across the world stage. So we need to swim with the tide, not despite it.
Which areas have the government prioritised for the UK?
Future of Mobility
AI & Data Economy
Are these relevant to you and your business? As big growth opportunity areas, how could you ‘make’ them relevant?
What do we need to make them work for us in Lancashire?
The government says we need Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Places (prosperous communities) and strong Business Environments.
The big question is, what do ‘we’ think? What does Lancashire have, or need to build, under those 5 headings in your view? Lancashire LEP is building its response to the national Industrial Strategy this summer. If you have anything to say, now is the time to do it.
With strong leadership for Lancashire our efforts become amplified.
This was a key theme emerging from Monday’s open forum for business contributions to Lancashire’s Industrial Strategy. Hosted by Miranda Barker’s East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and attended by engaged business owners and passionate supporters of business prosperity in the county, the 3-hour session highlighted numerous others such as:
For the love of God can we please have an effective rail network that connects businesses from East and West.
Let’s stop investing in new tech without the essential component of in-work training to embed it and maximise the value we can extract. Upskilling who we have is a great deal easier than ‘selling’ Lancashire to an international labour force.
Stop using the term ‘skills gap’ and start explaining exactly what we need. E.g. I need someone who has engineering AND digital skillsets; I need someone who can operate a sewing machine; I want to build a hub of automotive expertise..; we need college leavers to come equipped with ‘soft skills’ not just knowledge – can they hold a conversation, can they pick up the phone? etc.
Let’s make the most of the assets, capabilities and resources that our county has already attracted. Made Smarter; UCLAN’s new Innovation Centre; AMRC North West to name a few.
If what we have isn’t fit for purpose, then speak up. Connect with other companies, business support agencies and national bodies. Put your point across and keep lobbying for positive change. Low engagement will only result in low visibility.
If you missed Monday’s session, at least catch up on the data picture of Lancashire’s current performance – worth a read as an input to next year’s business plan. Then take a minute to add your voice to what should happen next. Contact the IOD, FSB, CBI, or East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Or tune in to Love Island. Your county, your choice.