Bristol event finds ways to capitalise on city’s untapped workforce

Attendees at the Live Lab event

The West of England has one of the most highly skilled workforces in the UK, yet there is a gulf of opportunity which NEETS (Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training) are missing out on, data from Grant Thornton UK LLP’s Vibrant Economy Index has revealed.

The figures have been released as the firm held its West of England Live Lab event in Bristol, inviting members of the public, private and third sectors to help find ways to build skills in the region.

Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index ranks every local authority in the UK on its ‘vibrancy’, providing an indication of social performance as well as economic factors.

The data revealed that the West of England performs well when it comes to high-level skills – NVQ level 4 (degree level) or above – with Bristol, and Bath and North East Somerset, both scoring above the UK average.

However, the study found a gulf in achievement across the region, with Bristol scoring negatively for NEETS, revealing that the city is faring worse than the national average.

To coincide with the Index, more than 200 people from business and the arts and charities, as well as leaders from the public sector gathered at the Live Lab event at At-Bristol to discuss how supporting skills can continue to unlock the West of England’s potential.

John Panteli, Partner at Grant Thornton, said: “For the West of England, skills play a vital role, not just for businesses, but for the region’s economy as a whole in helping people and businesses to thrive. Our talented people, with their desire and determination to learn, hold the key to maintaining and boosting our region’s competitive edge.

“The Live Lab event was about helping to find more opportunities to upskill our entire community – including NEETs – but also build on the great skills and talent that our region already has.”