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People – our core propositions

Gloucestershire will…

  • Be highly attractive to businesses due the high level of skills in the population.
  • Have a fully integrated and seamless journey for all residents to access skills support, to effectively participate in the workforce.
  • Close the skills gap, by addressing future skills needs based on evolving industries and increasing numbers of green and digital jobs.
  • Be a thriving and innovative economy, seen as an exemplar for other areas, and which successfully attracts and retains talent.
  • Have competitive advantage over innovation, research and development in the sub-region.

Delivering opportunities for all, along with environmental sustainability and economic prosperity, are the underpinning ambitions for the county’s new economic strategy. Addressing the needs of our communities is a central feature to ensuring equality of opportunity and a chance to focus on developing place-based policies that build on the area’s economic assets. This is particularly important in relation to increasing “good” employment, improving career prospects and pay in lower productivity sectors, developing housing and employment land and investing in more affordable and accessible public transport.

A strong local workforce is a key foundation to solidify long-term economic growth in Gloucestershire, but the challenge locally is twofold. The proportion of economically inactive people is increasing, and the number of residents of working age population are not keeping up with labour demand coming from employers. Significant increases in job postings since 2021 is causing labour pressure but these recruitment issues do not appear to be driven by skill shortages, but in fact a shortage of available workers. This is most prevalent in sectors such as transport and storage where the workforce is ageing and in agriculture where 51.3% of those in employment in the sector are aged 50+.

For the workforce in or wanting employment, ensuring that the county’s residents have access to the skills required by businesses, will allow businesses to reach their potential, in terms of productivity and for residents to realise their potential careers. In 2021, those with Level 4 qualifications or above accounted for 38.3% of the 16-64-year-old population which was above the national average of 37.0% and the regional average of 35.9%. For those at the other end of the skills equation, Gloucestershire has plenty to build on with skills, employment and careers support provided by the county council, LEP and a number of partners across the county for those who do not necessarily have the skills required or have access needs. These partnerships are key to the success of any approach, and collaboration in the employment and skills offer is key to this strategy.

There are a number of skills gaps and opportunities within the county’s key sectors, including cyber and digital and more broadly. In Gloucestershire, 38.8% of 16- to 64-year-olds have Level 4+ qualifications, but there is still an identified gap of higher-level qualifications and skills. In order to address this skills gap within the county, it is important to have support available for both lower-level, core skills and higher level, more technical and sector specific training.

To deliver this strategy effectively, improving skills levels must be coupled with effective business support and leadership. This is an essential component for a flourishing economy and an approach which must achieve climate change commitments. Many businesses encounter difficulties in navigating the complexities of starting, maintaining, and expanding a business and the decreasing working age population risks this opportunity. Business support services offer guidance and advice necessary for businesses to overcome these challenges, as well as access to funding and other resources.

For those who are self-employed or wanting to set up a business, Gloucestershire has a history of strong survival rates, but in 2021, business deaths outnumbered business births. We need to ensure this does not become a trend. Limited support for entrepreneurs and a lack of access to finance are the key drivers for this strategy to focus on while ensuring any new businesses are carbon neutral. 

In relation to funding, the creation of a ladder of finance has been highlighted as an area to explore to better support start-up and growing businesses. This should build on the Gloucestershire Infrastructure Investment Fund and expand beyond job creation measures.

Effective business support can lead to job creation, increased tax revenue, entrepreneurship, community development and economic diversification. Given the integration of the GFirst LEP, there exists a unique opportunity to revise and/or broaden the scope of business support services in Gloucestershire to meet the needs of local people and businesses.

Core propositions

People themes

2050 aim

Proposed action

Skills for the Gloucestershire jobs market: driving down economic inactivity and improving productivity by identifying future skills needs.

We will have a robust employment market with local people able to acquire the skills needed to take up jobs.

  • Take a sector-based approach to skills provision to ensure the workforce acquire the skills to take up jobs available in the county.
  • Encourage young people into target sectors, such as advanced engineering and manufacturing, through apprenticeships and T-Levels.
  • Work across local employers on apprenticeship opportunities to link potential candidates/ apprenticeship providers with employers.
  • Continue to identify funding to support the Employment and Skills Hub and Careers Hub.
  • Work with Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) to design essential digital and green skills into local skills provision.

Seamless journey to access skills: ensuring that residents can easily access locally relevant training opportunities.

  • We will have a fully integrated and seamless journey for all residents to access skills support, to effectively participate in the workforce.
  • Residents of rural areas looking to access training and improve their skills will be adequately supported through a better understanding of specific needs.
  • Map duplication or gaps in skills provision across FE, HE and training providers to tailor the county’s own skills provision to meet outstanding need.
  • Offer signposting to those looking for skills support to the most appropriate training providers to address training needs.
  • Engage with rural community organisations such as the Rural Community Council to better understand rural skills needs and develop an adequate offer.

Establish a loan fund: to incentivise local investment in future industry innovation.

Gloucestershire will have competitive advantage over innovation and research and development in the sub-region.

  • Develop a business case for the design of a future investment fund which offers a ladder of finance to new, existing and incoming businesses.
  • Create a service offer to match academia specialists with local businesses to draw on wider innovation funding.

Creating a talent pool: ensuring that businesses have access to a local workforce with the skills they need to flourish.

  • Gloucestershire will be highly attractive to businesses due the high level of skills in the population.
  • Top talent will be attracted to the county, further strengthening its reputation as a county with a highly skilled population.
  • Engage with businesses to tailor the skills provision across the county to reflect the skills need and respond to trends in the market.
  • Work across businesses and schools to prepare young people for future careers in the county, thereby retaining young talent.
  • Support to businesses to adjust their recruitment and retention approaches to attract a more diverse range of employees to meet their workforce needs.
  • Promote greater collaboration between education providers and private industry, including green skills providers and green employment opportunities.
  • Harness opportunities from the Green Skills Centre to deepen the renewable energy and retrofit offer.

Anticipating future skills needs: to ensure that Gloucestershire’s workforce has the skills needed for the future, including bridging the green skills-jobs mismatch.

  • We will anticipate future skills needs to ensure Gloucestershire has the skills for the future, preventing skills gaps from arising.
  • We will close the skills gap, with the number of green job openings increasing and being matched with individuals who possess the necessary green skills.
  • Facilitate strategic conversations around skills need and provision with businesses, schools and training providers to deliver future skills needs of businesses for example retrofit, renewable aerospace.
  • Use forecasting data (including labour market information) to identify skills needs and inform schools, young people, parents and training providers.
  • Work with providers to ensure vocational training for young people (like T-levels and apprenticeships) is locally relevant for current and future needs.

Digital accessibility: providing access to the internet (connectivity), devices to connect online, and improving levels of digital skills, confidence, motivation, or trust, to reduce “digital exclusion”.





  • We will close the digital skills gap and enable residents and the workforce to fully participate and contribute to the county’s long term economic prosperity.
  • We will ensure businesses of all sizes utilise digital technologies to provide new revenue, value-producing opportunities, and grow their businesses.
  • Work with partners to promote and deliver digital inclusion programmes developing digital skills training.
  • Support SMEs with the adoption of digital technology by understanding what digital products are most suitable to them to choose.
  • Continue to provide a trusted network of accessible locations offering free Wi-Fi and digital support to users through, for example, GCC’s library service.
  • Provide support for businesses on the importance of digitalisation and how to use digital technology.

Business support - The Growth Hub Network and other local providers: to provide a strengthened level of relevant and appropriate business support.

  • Businesses will be able to access business support which fits their individual needs.
  • We will enable all small and medium-sized enterprises to meet climate change requirements and have easy access to support and guidance on green practices.
  • Support the smooth and seamless transition from GFirst LEP to local democratic leadership.
  • Review the existing Growth Hub offer.
  • Develop the business support offer with consideration of LEP integration and the uncertainty of funding.
  • Provide and clearly signpost support and guidance on business climate transition, offering personalised and bespoke support that caters to businesses’ unique needs where possible.

Business groups: to foster and enhance a dynamic forum where businesses can connect, exchange insights, and support each other.

Gloucestershire will have a self-sustaining business forum where decisions positively impact place, people and planet.

  • Review and evaluate all nine LEP business sector groups with a view to refreshing and enhancing the role of local businesses in influencing county-wide policy and local decision-making.
  • Leverage the knowledge and expertise from key institutions such as University of Gloucestershire, Hartpury College, the Royal Agricultural University and Innovation Village, and regional Western Gateway Universities to contribute to the ideas exchange.

Innovation: to maintain and strengthen Gloucestershire’s reputation as an innovative county.

We will have a thriving and innovative economy and be seen as an exemplar for other counties, attracting and retaining talent.

  • Create a local innovation plan with partners across regional further and higher education providers, identifying their specialisms and developing talent.
  • Develop a package of financial incentives to businesses investigating R&D.
  • Deliver businesses’ resilience through enhancing the innovation factory and innovation labs.

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