Norfolk Skills Base
Report Segment: Skills Base
Norfolk – Skills Base
In terms of a skills profile; Norfolk is rather polarised; it is a county that stands to gain from addressing skills gaps in sectors such as Manufacturing and Construction, Hotel and Catering, Land Based, Rental and Business Activities and from addressing higher level skills shortages by attracting graduates to roles especially within SMEs, benefiting the more highly skilled areas of the economy. There is also a significant opportunity for skills matching in key new sectors such as low carbon technologies; bio-science; and digital media.
Around 15% of Norfolk people have higher qualifications (compared with 20% nationally) and nearly a third have no (academic, vocational or professional) qualifications. Around 17% of people are retired compared with under 14% in England and Wales as a whole.
Overall, we see a lower skills base than neighbouring counties and the Norwich skills base is lower than that found in Cambridge. There are fewer people with higher levels of qualifications, and hence less ability to take up highly skilled jobs in the new industries generating higher levels of wealth. (However, this needs to be seen in the context of a national over-supply of high level skills – suggesting a need to ‘market’ Norfolk as an attractive place to live for graduates currently living in other counties). There are more workers in Norfolk in lower-paid jobs in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector. These lower levels of skills, fewer people working in high level professional jobs and differences in business sectors, result in both lower productivity and significantly lower earnings in Norfolk.
Norfolk has both prospering economic areas and pockets of deprivation. Already a significant force in the knowledge economy, with a growing base in Health and Life Sciences, the county is well placed to attract innovative and high value businesses. But Norfolk's economic performance lags behind the rest of the region and the UK in terms of productivity. With the prospect of significant growth in Norfolk, a key priority for the county is helping to create the right conditions for accelerated economic growth. Although business survival rates are very good, start up rates are low, approaching 25% below the regional average.