The Leeds City Region (LCR), a partnership consisting of cities surrounding Leeds, has stated one of its main ambitions is to have a city region free of NEETs (a young person ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’). This is no mean feat with Leeds being the third largest UK city, but the steps taken to reach this will create a more employed and employable youth which will secure a foundation of people for the future of work within the LCR.
In terms of education, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) report ‘The State of the Leeds City Regional Labour Market – Challenges and Potential for 2014/2015’ suggests that there has been an increase in the number of young people studying STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). With employment predicted to increase 36% in the IT and Communications sector by 2018, and apprenticeships in IT Application the third most popular youth apprenticeship, the NEET-free ‘foundation of youth’ will be primed to fill roles in this sector. The increase of IT and Communications will help to fill the void being left by the jobs already lost in manufacturing and construction, a prominent sector in formerly industrial Leeds.
On the whole, more companies than before are choosing to locate themselves in Leeds with Search Office Space data showing that for 2014 so far the number of companies taking space has increased by 29% compared to the same period in 2013. For 2014, 65% of these companies took 1-2 workstations, almost double the number taking 1-2 workstations in 2013. This influx of SMEs and start-ups will have a reciprocal relationship with the ‘foundation of youth’, enabling Leeds to attract and retain businesses whilst increasing and maintaining youth employment.
As more companies start-up in or relocate to Leeds, there needs to be the available office space to meet demand. In terms of business centres, Leeds has seen a steady increase with at least four new business centres opening every year since 2007. Whilst this provides a strong serviced office portfolio, more space needs to be available to meet demand and allow Leeds to support and encourage the businesses it can grow its youth in.