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Sectors

North Somerset’s core sectors, including food and drink, professional services, logistics and sustainable technologies add significant economic value to the West of England region and beyond. The area’s businesses’ track record in research, technology and manufacturing capabilities provide strong foundations to drive growth across key sectors. Existing clusters are innovating in high value industries, with high-technology manufacturers making everything from aircraft parts to plasma screens and subsea control systems. Others benefit from the region’s rich farmland, with businesses like Yeo Valley and Thatchers producing award-winning and sustainable products.

To enhance the success of our business ecosystem, we need to enable the creation of industry-led networks and invest in the development of skills for jobs in emerging sectors. Our educational institutions are committed to prepare young people for success and are already working collaboratively with businesses to identify future skills gaps. Weston College has played a leading role in the creation of a new Institute of Technology (IoT), bringing together major institutions and advanced engineering and manufacturing businesses in the region. Setting learners on a path to high-skilled, high-wage careers in health and social care, advanced engineering and highvalue manufacturing, and the creative, digital and high-tech industry sectors.

Food & Drink

This sector is a major contributor to our economy. We have existing clusters with nationally recognised businesses. The Food WorksSW is a vibrant and dynamic food and drink innovation centre located within the Food Enterprise Zone in the Weston Business Quarter, ten minutes from the M5 motorway. Nurturing food and drink manufacturers at the very start of their journey to providing more established businesses with the technical know-how to innovate and grow, the facility provides food and drink manufacturers with the space, support and access to industry-leading entrepreneurs needed to succeed.

Sustainable technologies

North Somerset will grow its green economy, working in partnership with regional inward investment organisations and residents to access skills to support the sector. Existing partnership with Invest Bristol and Bath will develop a green industries inward investment programme and attract businesses in the green economy. This will build on the local economic benefits already achieved through low carbon projects such as Hinkley Point C and the work with skills providers to ensure the local workforce has the appropriate skills for green industries.

Professional services

There is increasing demand for high-quality spaces in the professional services sector from businesses looking for a place that enables a balanced lifestyle. North Somerset offers high-speed broadband with access to heritage and natural landscapes to support wellbeing. Investment in the delivery of high-quality workspace within our towns to work and collaborate in will support more businesses and entrepreneurs. From a skills perspective, Professional Services is one of the largest sectors within North Somerset, with more than half of the local population trained in this.

Visitor Economy

North Somerset’s plans for the visitor economy prioritise the promotion and growth of environmentally friendly holidays, and targeted support to improve the quality and diversity of the visitor economy. This will be further enhanced by new infrastructure that enables over 5m visitors per year to enjoy North Somerset’s natural assets, like the Pier-to-Pier cycleway, Marine Lake improvements and investment in Birnbeck Pier.

Creative industries

The strength of this sector to the local economy prior to the pandemic illustrates its potential for high future growth. North Somerset is building on flagship national arts and culture events like Dismaland and See Monster to showcase our ambitions for creative work and leverage further inward investment and funding. This aligns well with the Weston Placemaking Strategy’s aims to regenerate the town centre where “demand-led support will be needed to support the inception, change and growth of business activity in the town” particularly through developing creative hubs.

Logistics

North Somerset’s infrastructure is invaluable to the economy of the region, offering exceptional connections into the rest of the country and overseas. Our Economic Plan sets out actions to maximise employment and supply chain opportunities generated by innovation in the region, particularly in the aviation, green tech and clean energy sectors. There are also opportunities to work with key partners for ongoing lobbying and positioning of deep-water Bristol Port to become a freeport.

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