‘A skilled workforce is central to the health of the local economy’

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Growing the local economy and creating new jobs for people across Lisburn and Castlereagh are among the key aims set out in the Draft Community Plan 2017 - 2032.

The document, drawn up by the Strategic Community Planning Partnership, sets out a vision for community planning in the council area over the next 15 years.

This week we take a look at the second of its five main themes - ‘The Economy’.

The draft plan gives a brief overview of the local economy, including information about jobs, skills, incomes and the area’s infrastructure.

It goes on to set out a list of aims and proposals designed to achieve positive economic outcomes for everyone in the district.

“We want to develop the economy of Lisburn & Castlereagh so that it offers fulfilling work to everyone, provides access to goods and services that we value, and shares economic benefits in ways that reduce inequality, and has a positive impact on our environment,” the plan states.

“A skilled workforce is central to the health of the economy as businesses increasingly need well qualified people. For employees, the acquisition of new skills can open up new opportunities to more meaningful and rewarding work.

“We also need to improve both our physical and digital infrastructure and to make the district an attractive one for new businesses to locate in and for existing businesses to grow. Maze/Long Kesh, for example, offers exciting new opportunities.

“Other opportunities include growth in international visitors based on the planned opening of Hillsborough Castle; developing a sustainable approach by creating the conditions for a ‘circular economy’: moving from a ‘make, use, dispose’ economy to one that reuses, recovers and regenerates products and materials.”

The outcomes-focussed plan sets out a number of key aims. They include:

• The benefits of growth and development are distributed fairly across society.

• There is a good job for everyone that needs one.

• Income inequality is reduced.

• People possess the skills needed to secure a good job.

• New businesses and social enterprises are created and existing ones grow, employing more people.

• There is growth in tourism based on our natural and historic assets with a focus on international visitors.

• Our transport and digital infrastructure supports our economy and our people.

The draft document proposes a number of actions for 2017 - 2019, including developing programmes to help people achieve better qualifications, creating new social enterprises, pushing ahead with key infrastructure projects such as the Knockmore-M1 link and Maze/Long Kesh, and improving access to and the quality of digital infrastructure across the area.

The council is encouraging local people to have their say on the Draft Community Plan.

Copies of the document can be downloaded from the council’s website - www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk

As part of the ongoing public consultation process, a series of community engagement sessions are taking place across the Lisburn and Castlereagh area between now and March 1.

For further information email haveyoursay@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk