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Leeds pledging support for Future Talent to transform city economy

Businesses together with education and skills providers in the city are being asked to make a pledge and join the new plan to transform jobs and the economy in Leeds.

Launched today, the new Future Talent Plan for Leeds which can be seen at presents a bold and ambitious new approach to bring together all elements of the employment, learning and training markets in the city to help connect people to opportunities and jobs.

The aim of Future Talent Leeds is to be influenced, created, and owned by the city and be adaptable and resilient to thrive in the face of change. This collaborative approach seeks to help people, businesses and the Leeds economy to flourish in a post-pandemic environment. It also aims to contribute to the council’s climate emergency response by promoting skills and opportunities associated with the green economy through low carbon and sustainable infrastructure.

The new plan is supported by Leeds City College and has already received pledges from groups including Women Friendly Leeds, 100% Digital Leeds and the West Yorkshire Green Jobs Taskforce. The Women Friendly Leeds pledge focuses on encouraging employers to be Women Friendly recruiters, while 100% Digital Leeds is committed to ensuring everyone in Leeds has equal opportunity to use digital tools, technology and services in the right way for them. The regional West Yorkshire Green Jobs Taskforce has made a series of pledges around the green economy, connecting employers to talent and encouraging progress within jobs, as well as the creation of a thousand new skilled jobs for young people.

The key to success of Future Talent Leeds is a focus on maximising all available resources and partnerships. Improving education, training opportunities and addressing the digital skills gap are priority elements, working with higher and further education providers as well as with health partners in the city and wider region to create and align learning and training with the skills employers are looking for. This in turn will drive up standards and boost productivity across the city economy.

Future Talent is a major refresh of the council’s Talent and Skills plan which was published in 2017. It offers a modern approach reflective of the significant changes which have affected the local economy since, including new national government policy, extra devolved powers plus the impacts of Brexit and Covid-19 which have brought considerable changes to industry trends and ways of working.

Its focus is on addressing issues such as unemployment, inclusion and diversity, digital skills and climate change whilst also ensuring support and skills are in place as the city continues to emerge from Covid-19.

To inform the plan, a citywide conversation took place in two stages at the end of last year, looking at all aspects and challenges influencing jobs and the economy in Leeds. More than 1,300 contributions were received, while there were also discussions held with a wide range of representatives of all ages and backgrounds including key stakeholders and partners including those from business, education and third-sector groups.

Following the feedback received, Future Talent Leeds is based on the following key principles:

  • To provide a vision for the city to work together better to enable people, businesses and organisations to reach their full potential
  • For Leeds to be a globally competitive city with the right opportunities for people and businesses to thrive in a rapidly changing labour market, and ensure that nobody is left behind
  • To have the values of inclusivity, sustainability and health and wellbeing as key pillars embedded throughout

All partners will be asked to endorse a list of actions including:

  • Prioritising investment in the skills of people in the city who need support the most, working with people to help them into work or start a business in emerging and vital areas of the economy so they can thrive in meaningful careers
  • Encouraging people who have been economically inactive back into the workplace
  • To enable those in work to learn new skills, progress throughout their career, and be able to change jobs
  • To provide more inclusive recruitment, better jobs, and healthy workplaces
  • To use and strengthen assets to maximise employment and skills opportunities, harnessing our collective power to enable people and businesses to thrive

All partners and their pledges will be seen at the Future Talent Leeds webpages, together with details of events and activities related to jobs and skills being held in the city. The plan itself will also be reviewed every six months by a delivery group made up of key stakeholders.

To find out more or pledge support go to