The economy in Telford continues to thrive and we remain the fastest-growing town in the West Midlands. Over the last three years, we’ve seen over £236million of investment made with a large availability of ‘shovel-ready’ land aimed at making the process of moving into the local area seamless for new investors.

We have an excellent proposition in terms of both retail and tourism, and schools and colleges, as well as easy access to road and rail networks connecting us to the rest of the UK — all of which are key factors in attracting decision-makers to the area.

A big area for employers, new businesses and potential investors during last year was our access to skills, and this will continue to be a priority in 2019.

Our focus is very much on ensuring that we retain skills in the region by looking at the bigger picture in terms of what’s on offer and what people need, as well as attracting new skills to fill any voids.

It is critical that we continue to engage with schools and higher education to provide seamless links with employers, and that we continue to not only develop these skills but deliver opportunities for people to use these skills in the region.

Training and delivery forms a large part of this and must also be future-proofed to focus on emerging technologies and trends, including — to name but a few — industries such as digital, cyber, food and drink, agri-tech, advanced manufacturing and virtual and augmented reality.

With a diverse range of ‘Sector Champions’ sitting on the Telford Business Board and providing their unique insight into industry trends, needs, challenges and opportunities, we’re able to learn and listen to businesses about their needs both now and in the future. in ourselves and what we can deliver and offer the rest of the world.