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End of year is time for reflection

Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

As the year ends it’s a good time for reflection. For me it’s particularly relevant to do that as it’s the close of the year in which I took up my role with the Chamber.

In reflecting on my time so far I’m bound to ask myself what have I learned so far.

I’ve learned that success and optimism characterises West Norfolk. But I’ve also learned that we don’t see it or talk about it enough. The region’s success stories, in green energy and technology, for example, need more exposure and national recognition.

I can see that we should start by changing the language and approach we use when promoting the region. Let’s shift away from apology and towards brilliance. Many of the things that held us back – or we perceived as holding us back – are no longer relevant.

It’s abundantly clear to me that “skill” is one of our region’s biggest challenges. In the construction industry more people are leaving than joining, mainly because of age. EU uncertainty could reduce the numbers further yet, and this at a time when we are trying to build more homes.

At the Chamber we need to put real energy into working in partnerships, re-skilling, apprenticeships and work based placements

The Tech Revolution in West Norfolk is exciting. Order books in the technology sector are filling up. But technology needs skills too. More skilled coders, more investment and space to incubate and grow are essential requirements. This is a sector that, for West Norfolk, is laden with potential. We have to move quickly to maximise it.

And I’ve learned this. To truly help we need to be ‘in’ West Norfolk. Be a part of it. We need to get into the areas where we can be relevant and deliver value.

Technology will help us to communicate, but to unify the region’s businesses, and become a powerhouse of success and innovation, West Norfolk will need an army. We’re here. Join up.

In closing let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy, and prosperous New Year.


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