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A new report has been published, setting out the vision for a successful future for Warrington’s workforce and economy.

Business |

The Warrington Skills Commission has published its official report, which identifies the way forward for Warrington’s future economic success, by increasing opportunities for local people to get future-fit employment skills and training.

The new strategic review of employment skills – which was launched at the Warrington Business Conference on 15 September - aims to help secure the economic success of the borough for decades to come.

The report is the result of more than six months of work by the Warrington Skills Commission, established in January 2023 to review the nature of Warrington’s economy, currently and into the future.

The commission’s findings

The commission found that the growth of Warrington’s job market in the post-Covid period has surpassed the growth rate observed in both England and the North West – with health and social work, wholesale and retail, and professional scientific being the industries with the greatest job creation between 2019 and 2023.

The commission also assessed forecasts for long-term skills growth, as well as considering the kinds of social and socio-economic changes Warrington should be prepared for - namely an ageing population and the discrepancy between this and the number of projected care workers, tackling the climate crisis and the ongoing development of digital technologies.

Concluding the commission’s findings

The skills commission’s report makes a number of recommendations about how employment, skills and training should evolve and develop in the years ahead:

  • Continue to develop collaboration between a range of partners to share resources and create shared prosperity. The subregion should seek a new regional devolved skills settlement from the government and 'place based' coordination between stakeholders should be expanded in Warrington through a new strategy skills body.
  • Maintain a vision of skills training which aligns with employer needs, targeting key growth areas including information technology, logistics and e-commerce, green industries, care work, and ‘soft skills’, in particular communication.
  • Prepare for a net zero future by adopting skills strategies which predict the changes we need to make to respond to the climate emergency, with improved green training across education and the creation of a workforce ready to carry out the retro-fit work required to reduce carbon emissions.

Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic development and innovation, Cllr Tom Jennings, said: “The commission’s report identifies a number of key themes which will support our work to make our borough a place of opportunity for a skilled, diverse and future-fit workforce.

“It’s encouraging to see how our borough has responded to the challenges of recent times with resilience - in many cases, faring better than other places in the UK. However, if we want to continue to respond to the challenges of the future, we need an agile skills policy that enables local people – and the local economy - to reach their true potential. This report from the Warrington Skills Commission will help us achieve this.”

Cllr Sarah Hall, cabinet member for children’s services, added: “It’s vital that we give our future generations the skills that they - and modern businesses and employers - need. By achieving this, we can drive forward economic growth in Warrington and, crucially, ensure local people can participate fully in this growth.

“I’m grateful to the Warrington Skills Commission for their work on this report, which provides an invaluable insight into the challenges and opportunities ahead of us, and how, by working in collaboration, we can ensure our young people are equipped with the right skills to enable them to take their place in the innovative, dynamic, forward-thinking and inclusive workplace of the future.”

Made up of representatives from a broad range of sectors, including the council, local business, education and skills, public and the voluntary and community sector, the Warrington Skills Commission’s work has been informed by local, national and international evidence and research. This has included workshops and surveys conducted with a variety of stakeholder groups in Warrington.

A key outcome of the report – which will be presented to Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet in October - will be to help shape local and national skills policy and investments.

To read the report in full, visit warrington.gov.uk/warrington-skills-commission-2023