Wakefield Business Week discussion with Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council

I always enjoy meeting people at Wakefield Business Week and hearing about the contribution they are making to our district.

Now in its fifth year run by www.wakefieldfirst.com, this event champions success, highlights what we have to offer and our shared goals for the future.

We are home to over 8,700 active businesses, including leading organisations such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Harvard Engineering, Burberry and HARIBO.

Wakefield Business Week supports ambitious new and established businesses in the district, so that they can come together to raise their profile, share ideas, offer support and inspire others.

By forging strong links across our business community, we can continue to grow the scale and quality of the district’s business base, making the district stronger, more competitive and resilient to economic change.

There is much to celebrate. The Wakefield district is ranked as one of the country’s fastest growing economies. Unemployment is low, but we know there are challenges – as people’s pay can also be relatively low and we want better quality jobs to be available.

During Wakefield Business Week, we’ll be discussing how we plan to meet these challenges through the Council’s new Economic Strategy, which has a strong focus on helping people get the right skills for the right job, creating opportunities to develop and progress at work, apprenticeships that lead to careers, and quality employment opportunities throughout people’s working lives.

We have heard from a number of businesses who are keen to support the district deliver its ambitions in the new Economic Strategy. Business Week gives us a great opportunity to allow businesses to shape our activities and support us to deliver what is an ambitious yet achievable strategy.

It also goes beyond work. It involves providing support to those who need it most so that we can tackle the issues affecting them, making sure that no one in our district is left behind by economic growth.

We will be offering support to people to be better equipped to deal with money and debt, encouraging them to take up the financial support on offer. And helping to lift people out of fuel poverty through home energy improvements, as well as other initiatives so that everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing.

We cannot achieve these goals in isolation – we need to work with our partners. For businesses, it means even greater support to find the right people, to upskill and develop their workforce, and to innovate and grow. Local businesses which buy into our Economic Strategy will benefit, and local people who work for these organisations will too.

More than 1,000 businesses are expected to attend the event from Wakefield and from across the Leeds City Region.

During the week there will be a range of discussions and interactive events in the creative and digital sector, as well as a focus on logistics, automation and skills and how to future proof the workforce.

We also look forward to welcoming a range of innovative and inspirational key speakers. This includes Roger Marsh Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Jamie Morgan from Leeds University Business School, Richard England from Reflex Arc, Margaret Wood of ICW Engineering, Shannon Harvey from Production Park, Simon Shrouder for Transport for the North and Pascal Fintoni from Google.

The week of free activities will launch on Monday 1 October. Events, seminars and networking opportunities will then run throughout the week until Friday 5 October.

This includes the Wakefield Business Conference on Wednesday, with a wealth of networking opportunities and practical advice from industry experts across different sectors. This includes discussions about the Northern Power House, how to accelerate business growth in the district and business promotion.

To find out more, and to book FREE places, visit www.wakefieldfirst.com/business-week-2018

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