Study to examine West Norfolk job prospects

Candidates for the Norfolk County Council Elections May 2013

Candidates for the Norfolk County Council Elections May 2013

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A pilot study is to be launched to examine ways in which job prospects for people living in West Norfolk could be improved.

Although the proportion of people working in low-skilled jobs is higher than the national average across the county as a whole, the percentage in the borough is even higher.

Members of the Norfolk County Council economic development committee backed a proposal to review economic opportunities in parts of North West Norfolk at a meeting in Norwich on Monday.

Officials hope the work done there, which will be led by a committee chaired by North Coast division councillor Richard Bird, could then be rolled out across the rest of the county.

A report presented to the committee revealed that almost 28 per cent of workers in West Norfolk are employed in what are seen as lower-skilled roles, such as process, plant and machine operation – more than 10 per cent above the national average of 17.1 per cent.

And the proportion of the workforce engaged in professional, technical or associated professions is more than eight per cent below the national average of 33.8 per cent.

The borough’s figures are also worse than the county-wide statistics in both fields.

And the report added: “This is mirrored by similar disparities in earnings and skill levels.”

The study, which has been set up following the establishment of a member working group led by Mr Bird on the issue in May, proposes to collate data on employment, skill levels and the work being done by agencies in an, as yet, undefined area of North West Norfolk. The area will include Mr Bird’s division.

Talks will then be held to consider the evidence and what can be done about the patterns found within them.

The report added: “While there is strong growth and a wide range of sectors in some areas, in others there are limited professional and other office-based jobs and an over-reliance on employment sectors related to tourism, hospitality and care, which can be low wage or low skills, as well as seasonal.”