What’s next for the Shropshire economy?

Digital connectivity, better transport, being green and tackling skills shortages are all vital as we aim to shape the future of Shropshire’s economy.

Those were some of the issues which emerged as around 100 businesses gathered for an event which asked the question: What’s next for Shropshire?

The event, at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, included a series of talks, workshops and panel debates, and was organised to help form Shropshire Council’s Economic Growth Strategy from 2022 to 2027.

Compered by Shropshire Business editor Carl Jones, and organised in conjunction with the events team at Shrewsbury-based Yarrington, the key points fed back through the event highlighted six key areas that firms feel are vital for the next five years as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

They were:

  • Digital connectivity remains critical to the Shropshire economy – including better broadband and 5G.
  • Transport connectivity for employment, learning, leisure and the night-time economy is a necessity.
  • The ‘green agenda’ provides a massive opportunity to position Shropshire nationally.
  • Potential new employees place greater emphasis on their work location now (including remote working) choosing businesses that best meet their value – Shropshire’s offer must be stronger than ever.
  • The need to use our strategic location positioned adjacent to Wales, the North West and West Midlands to drive cross-border business opportunities and collaboration.
  • Unlocking and communicating in-demand skills shortages and upskilling – what do businesses need and what is available?
some of the statistics shared with delegates 1

A series of asks, such as more affordable housing, engagement with the younger generation and improved networking are also being fed into the strategy.

Mark Barrow, executive director of economy and place at Shropshire Council, said: “This was a fantastic event, we have had really positive feedback from businesses and partners who attended, which really gave everyone a feel for what the burning issues are for Shropshire’s economy.

“We want to work closely with businesses across the county to ensure our strategy for the next five years is robust, ambitious and provides support which will enable significant growth.”

If you’d like to watch the whole three-hour event, or flick through some of the individual workshops, you’ll find all the video content on the Invest in Shropshire website – www.investinshropshire.co.uk