Kirklees to see a boom in skilled jobs over the next 15 years

Skilled workers in a factoryWith the local plan proposing the development of 36,000 homes;  investment of around ¼ million from the West Yorkshire Transport Fund; and the potential for jobs in the development of the HS2 and HS3 railway lines there has never been a greater need to build the skills profile in Kirklees.

This announcement came from Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for transportation, skills, jobs and regional affairs.

Once in a lifetime opportunity

Cllr Peter McBride said:

“I’ve not seen an opportunity like this before in my lifetime.  We are looking at 15 years where businesses and young people will see a degree of job security very rarely seen in the construction industry.”

“There will be a huge demand for skills as a result – we will need people with the skills to build houses, and deliver transport systems.”

“At the same time, we are also forecasting that there will be a demand for skills in health and social care, digital and future industries, retail and hospitality.”

“There will also be an ongoing need to reinforce the strength of our manufacturing heritage and replace the ageing workforce.”

Skilled job for local people

Some of these industries have traditionally been supported by non or low skilled employees but Cllr McBride says that is about to change, and that its more essential than ever that we develop a local workforce of skilled people to meet the demand:

“I believe that to be successful businesses need highly trained staff.  This could provide real opportunities for local people so we need to get it right.”

“If we don’t do this now then we might as well put up a sign in Warsaw that says ‘come and do it for us’.”

Apprenticeships are essential

The Councillor believes that one of the best ways for people to achieve these skills is through vocational training such as apprenticeships.

“I want people to realise that vocational education provides a good, reliable qualification with the opportunity to study up to degree level and the prospect of lifelong employment.”

“It should have the same status as the traditional academic route.  However, this change in thinking needs to be led by our schools.”

We need to work together

Cllr Mcbride was also keen to emphasise how the council needs to work with local colleges, and the university, as partners in the regeneration of the local economy.

 “As training providers, they need to offer the opportunities to learn the skills, that will be needed in the future, and that will attract more business.”

“We have always known that industry grows around points of connectivity, but we are now seeing that it grows around educational settings, just look at MIT and Harvard in the USA, and Cambridge in England.  Businesses want to know that the skills and knowledge they need are already present in an area before they base themselves there.”

“What we have here is an opportunity for young people to build the houses they are going to be living in, the roads they will use to drive on and to develop the skills that will lead to long-term opportunities.”

“We need to have a strong strategy for building skills in our area, but making it happen isn’t going to be easy. The council can bring people together but we can’t deliver this by ourselves – everyone needs to be on board.”

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