As one of the most beautiful counties in England, West Sussex has all the natural attributes for attracting people into the area. The next challenge is to strike a balance between its natural assets and a growth in business excellence to meet growth demands. The year 2020 has become an important milestone in the business evolution of West Sussex, with clear strategies mapped out for its bright future and various success indicators to work toward. Here are a number of insights that will drive momentum forward.
Improved training opportunities
West Sussex prides itself on its enterprising apprenticeships and workforce development. West Sussex County Council has set its sights on embedded learning programmes in all schools, colleges and universities, and improving the provision of apprenticeships to businesses in key sectors through a transparent approach. An aim is to increase the number of trade apprenticeship qualifications to beyond its 2004 peak of 30,000.
Job creation for future growth
A focus in the area is to achieve an overall employment rate of 80% by 2020. This target, coupled with population growth, means that the workforce will grow by around 25,000 people, with additional private sector roles to compensate for predicted loss in the public sector.
Creating a collaborative approach between distinct areas
A healthy economy thrives on a diverse economy. West Sussex is currently defined by three distinct areas: coastal West Sussex, Gatwick Diamond, and rural West Sussex, each with its own strong industry sectors. A strong strategic priority, set out in ‘An Economic Strategy for West Sussex 2012-2020’ will be to establish a collaborative approach to attract fresh investment across West Sussex rather than pockets.
Better protection from the elements
Job creation and long-term economy security will be established through a £400,000 council commitment to the Environment Agency Adur Tidal Walls Scheme to protect at risk areas from flooding events.
Improving business clusters
Shoreham and Worthing have both been earmarked as leading growth areas as part of the Greater Brighton City Deal, which includes towns to the west of Brighton. Adur and Worthing currently have a strong cluster of industries: engineering, manufacturing, pharmaceutical base, and tech exports. Councils would like to build up this industry base by creating a technology cluster hub in the large town to provide an industry link to Brighton’s dense network.
Broadband and Wi-Fi funding
Well connected communities can forge fresh business relationships easier and quicker and elsewhere. From November 30 this year, areas will be provided with superfast broadband as part of a £225,000 pilot scheme aimed at rural businesses. Although 91% of West Sussex businesses are able to access superfast broadband, 4% still operate on a speed of 10 Mbps. West Sussex libraries will also receive £56,000 Wi-Fi funding as part of an Arts Council scheme which will enable children, student and freelancers to access a wealth of education and business avenues.
Commercial and residential housing will increase
Appropriate housing has a massive effect on economic sustainability. It is estimated that every £1 invested in housing results in £1.40 gross output. Local authorities will use a range of available tools to unlock brownfield sites for development, and investment can be secured through the Growing Places fund. Demand for small, high-quality commercial property units in West Sussex has been identified and an up-to-date database of employment land and business premises will be promoted and maintained.
The revitalisation of Burgess Hill
The town of Burgess Hill on the edge of the South Downs National Park will receive an extensive revitalising boost in its town centre. Developers, NewRiver Retail will deliver a range of modern shops, an eight-screen cinema, community centre and 13,000 sq. ft. library, alongside other features, in three phases, from 2015 to 2020. Just as Gatwick Diamond, West Sussex’s main employment centre, now provides a business hub after regeneration, development will boost the town of Burgess Hill will to play a bigger part in West Sussex’s economic presence.
As one of the leading jobs providers in Sussex, our extensive knowledge of the West Sussex markets continues to guide jobseekers and local businesses. If you’re a West Sussex business owner, or you know someone in West Sussex who is looking to recruit new staff, we are currently offering businesses 50% off EVERYTHING as part of our Black Friday Weekend giveaway! Contact us today as this offer only extends to 30 November!