Workshop 2. 19 October, 12:30 - 13:30
Challenges for the region
This is an ambitious document - the challenge will be to ensure that it is relevant and achievable on the ground; needs to link all the different activities going on in the region and ensure joint working towards the same purpose
How to prioritise between the different aspects and ensure that they do not conflict is the major challenge. Need clarity on what needs to be most developed.
Creating a sustainable economy with public sector funding reducing significantly over the next few years is a challenge.
Challenges posed by the connectivity of different cultures
Fear over Welsh language and culture with high influx of people moving into Welsh communities
Town Centres need diversifying; good that REF includes Town Centres but we need to recognise, embrace and support our communities and foundational Economy.
Impact of transportation/poor travel links, in logistically challenged rural areas – making access to services difficult; transportation challenges also exist in urban areas.
How do we reach the number of businesses that are innovation active that want to develop? What is the role of the private sector in this?
Identifying problems and utilising preventative measures is a challenge – there is a need to keep young people in the area, need to identify what skills/subjects play to the area’s strengths.
SME Resilience & sustainability – succession planning key, in preparing for future economic success, especially given that Micro’s & SMEs, account for a substantial part of the Welsh Economy.
Education, Skills & Training; impact on HE – migration of talent - Skills are so important. Not just for young people but for older people as well; need to focus on over 25 upskilling too.
Opportunities for the region
Localise procurement in public sectors – split tenders to allow for SME participation; Link to make procurement accessible for microbusinesses and social enterprise
Opportunity to improve connection with NWEAB – look at sub-groups to gather information & business involvement.
Better engagement with our communities and young people
Improve communication between all stakeholders – it’s not the ‘What’ but the ‘How’ that causes the problem.
There is a need to prepare a portfolio to promote the region and skills sharing. Where is the stakeholder engagement activity that is bringing people into Wales?
Skills agenda – focus on youth before working age.
Priorities for the region to pave the way for 2040 vision
Appropriate role for local, regional and national action to enable everyone to move in the same direction and achieving added value and social value – aim to reach consensus with external partners and providers – need consistency across the region.
Capacity is an important factor to consider – there are complex expectations that require extra work - who is going to take practical action to realise the vision?
No need to take out any priorities from the stakeholder document but include more that are being done at regional level.
Change the image and perception – towns, workforce, opportunities
Improving and developing a skilled workforce
Improve technological skills
Improve digital access
An understanding of what is needed and an appreciation of the different needs and expectations within the region; commitment to working on a regional basis is a challenge - differences need to be recognised before moving forward
You need to empower people to bring about change and get more buy in - reach out to other sectors and the public at large for their representative views.
Future collaborative working principles for the region
Allow flexibility in collaborative learning
Colleagues working at officer level within LA’s have no connection with the NWEAB & suggest a working group dedicated to collecting feedback from them.
Social Business sector – representative offering to engage with their businesses on our behalf.
Communication is key – high level discussions can be off-putting – the way this is communicated is very important to ensure understanding and buy-in.
An action plan is needed. There is a need to identify organisations that should be helping with development of the REF. Welsh Government and partners need to be bold and not avoid shaming sectors and organisations to help out.
A strong stakeholder group needs to be commissioned and built upon. There is a need to get people from different backgrounds and be ambassadors for their groups/sectors.
Realise the importance of young people to this debate