More than 200 local business, public sector and third sector professionals in the Forth Valley area attended an event recently to help reshape the Forth Valley economy for the 21st century – with support from their local College.
The ‘Revitalising the Forth Valley Region’ online event – hosted by BBC presenter and broadcaster Bryan Burnett on Wednesday 23 February - invited registered delegates to take part in a seminar that, it is hoped, will kick-start the development of a new Regional Economic Strategy (RES) that could prove transformational for the area. Forth Valley College is one of the key organisations that have pledged their support to help the region to lead the way.
The Strategy will combine the considerable economic expertise of the public, private and social sectors, to drive improvements in productivity through innovation and promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth.
The virtual event featured speakers from prominent companies drawn from across the Forth Valley, including; ADL, Codebase, Diageo, Celtic Renewables, Grahams - the Family Dairy and INEOS. As well as input from Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling Council Leaders and prominent figures from academia and the Scottish Government.
The photograph taken at the studios of Tapesty Audio Visual Ltd in Grangemouth, shows (from left to right) Neil McInroy Scottish Government Community Wealth Building Advisor, Emeritus Professor David Bell from the University of Stirling, Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn Leader of Falkirk Council, Councillor Ellen Forson Leader of Clackmannanshire Council, Councillor Scott Farmer Leader of Stirling Council and host for the day Bryan Burnett.
Dr Ken Thomson OBE, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “We were absolutely delighted to play our part in ensuring that our local authorities, business partners and neighbours are able to improve the skills of their workforces by utilising the expertise, experience and quality training that Forth Valley College can offer, to enhance the shared economic vision for this region.
“We are also well equipped to help in the transformation of Forth Valley into Scotland’s first Net Zero Region, as our sector leading sustainability and environmentally friendly curriculum and operating credentials will help to inspire and encourage local business and industry to have carbon reduction targets at the forefront of everything they do.”
A new Regional Economic Partnership will be established to oversee the development and delivery of the RES combining the expertise of all three councils and other public sector institutions, including both the College and University of Stirling, with a number of locally based global private sector companies and others drawn from across the Forth Valley also involved. Reps from the Forth Valley’s vibrant social economy were also participating.
The RES is being launched from a position of strength with significant infrastructure investment through the multi-million pounds already secured for the Stirling & Clackmannanshire City Region Deal and Falkirk’s Growth Deal delivering a range of projects which will act as the building blocks for inclusive growth.
Lynn Blaikie, President of Forth Valley Chamber said: “This new strategy will ensure that Forth Valley is well placed to secure future funding from both the Scottish and UK Governments and to leverage private sector investment through our innovative approach to driving economic and environmental sustainability.
“It will enable us to have real influence between the two big City Regions on the Clyde and the Forth. The cumulative impact of each area combining their efforts is more than the sum of its parts. The Forth Valley now has an opportunity to become rightly recognised as the ‘buckle’ in Scotland’s central belt, unequivocally at the heart of Scotland’s economic recovery and renewal.”