I have always been a fan of the word 'new' particularly since the Financial Times declared that our town has 'opened a new chapter' with a new university campus to 'educate a new generation of engineers,' writes Steve Rumbelow.
Since that FT article (August 2009) all-new secondary schools, a new sixth form and new college have opened too – Burnley now has the best education facilities in the country.
It is quite a transformation but as the FT allude, it is not just about educational facilities, it is about skills development – ensuring Burnley's global excellence in advanced manufacturing, aerospace and engineering is sustained through the continued provision of a skilled workforce.
At present 20% of our workforce is in 'skilled trades' – double the North West average. In addition advanced manufacturing and aerospace make up 18% of all jobs; significantly higher than the North West average of 11%. We make things and we make them exceptionally well, as Treasury Minister Danny Alexander pointed out on a recent visit: 'This area has a hugely strong manufacturing tradition… and it is an absolutely vital sector.'
UK manufacturing has already posted record growth in the first two months of 2011 and the Prime Minister just this week stressed the UK's economy has to be 'more reliant on manufacturing.' It is vital Burnley capitalises on this opportunity, to tell more people across the North West and beyond of our manufacturing excellence, investment in education and subsequent development of our future workforce.
The new Burnley.co.uk website is part of that message. To show that Burnley is both exceptional at making things and exceptional at making things happen. This is our vision for our town and my personal favourite 'new' – the new Burnley.
- Steve Rumbelow is chairman of Burnley Vision Board and chief executive of Burnley Council
More information on Burnley can be found through the below articles which formed part of the 2011 Place on Tour Programme