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Our Skills

Growth and change in our main sectors will create wealth and jobs. We are creating the base for business to grow through major development and regeneration sites, and focusing on training and skills. All sectors are important to our economy, and we will make a particular effort to support those on low pay and those in insecure jobs. Work is being done on all our sectors to increase growth, through skills, infrastructure, innovation and productivity. Advancements in technology are creating new opportunities, and linking sectors in new ways, such as medtech, low carbon and fintech. There are also opportunities to support inclusive growth by businesses and others through taking action to improve skills and provide community benefits specific to particular sectors.

Leeds has world leading assets in health, our universities are developing new technology and training new professionals and the sector is at the forefront of innovation allowing people to gain more control of their own health. The Leeds Academic Health Partnership is addressing health inequalities, bringing together our three universities, NHS organisations and the City Council to create an ambitious alliance. 

Leeds has the UK’s largest financial services cluster outside the capital and the sector is growing strongly. There are over 30 national and international banks based in the city and the city region is also home to the headquarters of three of the five largest UK building societies. We have major offices of the Big Four accountancy firms in the city. Leeds has the UK’s fastest growing legal sector, with Leeds firms offering a wide range of expertise which they export globally. The Leeds Legal Apprenticeship Scheme offers young people the opportunity for a career in the sector. Emerging fintech and cyber security sub-sectors are being recognised as advancements in technology and create new opportunities. The FCA has highlighted the Leeds / Manchester area as one of only two UK fintech hotspots outside London.

Leeds is rapidly establishing itself as the digital centre of the North, with a thriving private sector, internationally important infrastructure, a significant public sector presence through NHS Digital, and an approach to growing the sector based on close collaboration between the Council and the private sector. We are a world leader in Big Data and have a growing digital media sector. The Leeds Digital Skills Plan focusing on attracting and training talent for the digital sector has had many successes, including the Digital Careers Fair at Leeds Arena. The Leeds Digital Festival has helped raise the profile of the sector and encouraged collaboration.

Manufacturing and engineering is not simply about making things, the industry supports creativity, innovation and design, provides advanced services, whilst developing skills. There is a high level of innovation and exports in the sector. Nationally there is a growing shortage of trained people equipped for careers in this sector. Developing the right skills, making sure training and education matches the future needs of businesses is essential for growth. The sector has an ageing workforce meaning attracting young people and women into the industry is particularly important. Our new University Technical College will help address this. Protecting employment land, developing new sites and ensuring the existing stock specification is of a suitable standard for modern businesses are all priorities.

Leeds has adopted an ambitious house building plan including council housing. We have identified locations for growth across the city, including around some major regeneration and infrastructure projects such as the Enterprise Zone, South Bank and HS2. These will create jobs, apprenticeships and supply chain opportunities. There is a skills shortage in the sector (including higher level positions) that our specialised education facilities are seeking to address, aligning skills training to match local economic priorities and business needs.

Our retail growth is bucking the national trend and the opening of Victoria Gate in 2016 has moved Leeds from fourth to third in the National Retail Ranking as the best place to shop in the UK. In recent years major developments have helped cement Leeds as a national destination offering a range of activities and events, including the Leeds Arena which attracts one million extra visitors to the city annually. The £14m redevelopment of the West Yorkshire Playhouse will add to our cultural offer. Leeds continues to produce world class athletes and host major sporting events in Rugby, Cricket, Football and other sports such as the Columbia World Triathlon Series which was watched by 80,000 people along the route.

There is a strong tradition of social enterprise in Leeds, from local self-help groups and cooperatives through to some of the best known social businesses such as John Lewis and Leeds Building Society. We have many thriving charities which are increasingly looking to trading as a way to fund social objectives. Social enterprises can provide routes into jobs and employment for those with enduring needs, and our experience in Leeds of using social value clauses to provide work in construction has much to offer in other settings. In recycling and environmental improvement, the sector makes a significant contribution to the city and to individual lives.

What's Happening

South Bank
In response to the Chancellor’s announcement of £25m government funding to support the siting of a British Library North in Leeds, Leeds City...
Following the success of the Leeds Apprenticeship Recruitment Fair last month, Leeds City Council is looking to encourage more businesses in...
Approval has been given for the first step in bringing about transformational improvements to the Corn Exchange area in Leeds. Leeds City Council’s...