Working North East

The true impact of the pandemic and recession on the region’s labour market will not be fully known for some time.

However, experience teaches us that the effects of economic downturns fall disproportionately on particular groups in society, such as young people, women and ethnic minorities.

What is needed?

A fair recovery requires measures that immediately address these challenges. Everyone in our region must be able to access high quality employment and training opportunities, regardless of their background or personal circumstances. This is vital for the wellbeing of both individuals and our future economy.

Government’s handling of education and training issues during this crisis has been extremely poor. Urgent changes are needed to restore confidence in the system, to provide certainty to young people and to enable employers to continue to invest in skills.

For their part, businesses must also do what they can to maintain training and career opportunities. We know times will be tough for many, but those that are able to spend on skills will see this investment paid back many times over as we return to growth.

We must also consider our longer-term skills needs and kick-start investment now to prepare us for the future. Digital skills and those tied to the green economy are already in high demand and will continue to be so as we build a more sustainable economy.

The North East needs:

  • Well-resourced and locally run reskilling and upskilling programmes aligned with local economic strategies and areas of job growth
  • Increased funding for the Further Education system to ensure it can support all learners and can open up opportunities for lower income households
  • Government and businesses to continue to invest in the apprenticeship system to prevent the widening of skills gaps
  • A training programme that raises the North East’s digital skills base to create a better skilled and more productive workforce
  • A streamlined immigration sponsorship system to ensure employers can easily hire talent from around the world

Our commitment: developing skills together

Recruiting and training young people is a big commitment for any business, especially in uncertain economic times, yet we know there is a huge appetite in the North East to do so.

Collaboration between businesses helps to de-risk the process, as well as providing young people with a diverse set of experiences and insights to both develop a broad skillset and to shape their career interests.

The Chamber will work with its membership to bring businesses together to provide quality training and career opportunities, meaningful work experience placements and to position the North East as the best place in which to build a career.

We believe that world-class education is key to ensuring that all people, regardless of background, can reach their full potential. It will also help to ensure businesses in our region have access to a talented workforce with the skills they need to grow. In a very challenging time, renewed and sustained investment and focus on our education system, in all its forms, will lay the groundwork for a Stronger North East.”

Darren Hankey, Principal – Hartlepool College of Further Education

Get involved with our Stronger North East campaign by emailing [email protected]


Campaigning for a Stronger North East

Our mission is not just to repair the damage done to our economy in recent months. It is to come back stronger. We must correct historic unfairness, tackle inequalities and show the world what we are capable of. North East England is a fantastic, unique place with enormous economic potential. Through collective endeavour, and with the right support, we know that potential is within our reach.

To get involved with our Stronger North East campaign, email [email protected]

Competitive North East

To recover and grow, we need to improve the financial health of our businesses to put them in the best possible position to capitalise on any new opportunities.


Connected North East

The quality of infrastructure in the region will be vital to our economic recovery, ensuring that communities in the region are connected to opportunities.


Dynamic North East

We must reimagine what our places are for and revitalise them as centres of economic activity.


Global North East

Businesses in our region are recognised around the world for their quality, service and innovation.


Influential North East

The Chamber will work with businesses and stakeholders across our region to build a campaign that shouts about our potential and the many great reasons to invest here.


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Chamber statement on today’s employment figures

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