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14 Jan 2016
The Northern Powerhouse initiative has the potential to change the economic path of the North of England. It also has the potential to be a lot of rhetoric which does not go anywhere. At the moment the Government’s agenda is heavily transport led. There are also a series of exciting developments in other areas across the North of England including plans for regeneration of city and town centres, devolution allowing locally led decision making, and new ways of supplying power to business and communities. All these can help unlock economic growth across the North of England.
Working in economic development I am always pleased to see new attempts to improve the economies, lives and prospects of those from communities across the UK. Many previous approaches have not delivered the scale of change required. To change the path of the North’s economy I think we need some big ideas which are implemented in full.
I have a series of ideas which I would like to propose which I believe could change the path of the North of England’s economy, society and environment.I explain one idea below (with more to follow) and am happy to hear thoughts and counter arguments to each. Please comment or get in touch.
Idea 1: 5 hours a week of careers advice for high school students
My first ‘big idea’ is that high school students are offered 5 hours of careers advice a week, delivered by businesses or professional institutions. This is a huge amount of time for careers advice given the competing priorities for students. However, careers advice, information and guidance can contribute to several key aspects of young people’s lives and the economy in general.
Not all young adults have a career in mind when they are in high school or college. Many do not decide on a career until they are in the world of work, after which time it becomes too expensive or time intensive to retrain. Providing young people with more information on potential careers provides individuals with better information to make decisions. This in turn can benefit the economy. Better supply of skills and matching of demand with skills in the labour market could be worth a reported £10.6 billion to the economy annually. Furthermore increased careers advice could also offer other benefits including more rounded education, fostering strong links between businesses and schools, supporting the apprenticeship agenda and reducing public expenditure on infrastructure.
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