Ensuring the benefits of Renfrewshire’s ‘buoyant’ economy reach right across the region was the hot topic at the area’s annual Economic Development Conference yesterday (Tuesday 20 November 2018).
More than 150 staff from jobs, skills and economic development agencies attended the popular conference organised by Renfrewshire Council’s economic development team Invest in Renfrewshire, held at Paisley Town Hall, which this year focused on tackling inequalities and delivering inclusive growth.
Delegates heard how Renfrewshire’s economy is greatly improved, with the highest employment rate across the Glasgow city region and more businesses generating a greater turnover than this time last year.
They also learned about new developments and opportunities set to boost the economy even more, including a manufacturing innovation district being developed next to Glasgow Airport and £100million being invested to transform Paisley town centre and its cultural venues.
Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills delivered the keynote speech.
He said: “The Scottish Government recognises a strong, vibrant and diverse economy is essential to our national prosperity. We are committed to delivering inclusive growth and tackling the inequalities that prevent people from achieving their potential.
“We have invested £48 million to develop a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland. Located at Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, it will provide support for manufacturing businesses, help to attract investment, and connect all of Scotland’s engineering universities and colleges.
“Our devolved employability support service, Fair Start Scotland, offers a distinctly Scottish approach where participation is voluntary for everyone who chooses to take part. We want the process of finding work and starting a new job to be seen as an opportunity and choosing to take the opportunity of support can’t be driven by fear of sanctions.”
Colleagues from Creative Scotland and the Council’s regeneration team outlined plans to develop Renfrewshire’s creative economy, while delegates also discussed the changing labour market.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Renfrewshire’s economy is buoyant, and this conference sees the organisations contributing to its success share best practice and consider the next steps.
“We’re helping more people find and sustain work and are working hard to create the conditions which bring new businesses to the area and enable established businesses to grow and innovate.
“Over the next five years we have made a long-term commitment to help people most in need into work and do more to support start-up and early stage businesses with exciting plans in place to grow the creative business sector and attract thousands of high skilled jobs in manufacturing.
“I am pleased that the conference focused on how best to achieve inclusive growth as this is central to improving the opportunities for current and future generations in Renfrewshire. It is vital the area’s economic growth benefits everyone and that’s why we are targeting our resources to communities facing deprivation and to help people unemployed and underemployed.”
Fast facts on the Renfrewshire economy
• Business incubator InCube supports the start-up of 300 new businesses each year
• Programmes to help people into work are rated the best performing in Scotland
• At 76.1%, our employment rate outstrips the entire Glasgow city region
• Weekly earnings for Renfrewshire residents are £28.50 higher than the Scottish average
• Hosting major events this summer boosted the local economy by £1.25million
• 80% of 16-64-year-olds are economically active, but by 2041, our working age population is expected to decrease by 2.1%
• Manufacturing provides employment to 11% of our total workforce with 358 different manufacturing sites in the area, including world-renowned Rolls-Royce and Diageo.
Photo 1 shows the Town Hall conference
Photo 2 shows (l-r): Ruth Cooper, Economic Development Manager, Renfrewshire Council; Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Scottish Government; Alasdair Morrison, Regeneration Manager, Renfrewshire Council and Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.