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February 8th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Planning for the global and out-of-this world job opportunities

space

Avatar relationship manager, data hostage specialist, 3D food printer chef, drone docking designer. These are all jobs that don’t exist yet – but one day might, according to futurist Thomas Frey.

NOTE: Investigate other topics covered by futurist Thomas Frey

The driver for many jobs of the future is technology. Although some may seem fanciful now, anticipating what’s over the horizon is critical to maintaining a competitive economy.

That’s why a large part of the our economic plan for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly focuses on the ‘future economy’, identifying areas where we have a head-start and where we can grow businesses and create jobs.

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These include space and aerospace, agricultural technology, e-health, marine technology (including renewable energy) and the digital economy. What underpins much of this activity is our superfast digital network, which has made us one of the best connected areas of Europe thanks to sustained investment from the EU, public and private sector.

Take e-health as an example. Rather than patients having to travel long distances for assessment, what if they could be assessed and monitored remotely from their own homes? This could revolutionise the delivery of services to rural populations and more remote communities like the Isles of Scilly. Commercial operators are already looking to our area to pioneer such systems.

Or what about energy? By using our natural assets such as wave and geothermal energy, we can develop new methods of green generation. Through investment in renewables, energy storage and ‘smart grid’ technologies, we will be able to balance supply and demand in a far more localised, low-carbon network, bringing greater energy security and reduced costs in an area with higher than average fuel poverty.

Agriculture has been a mainstay of our economy for generations, with centres of excellence for research and development. We want to harness that expertise and develop an agri-tech industry focused on food sustainability and innovation that can be exported around the world.

And later this year we expect to be invited to bid for the UK’s first Spaceport. The Aerohub Enterprise Zone at Cornwall Airport Newquay is the only location in England identified as suitable for hosting such a facility. Before the end of the decade commercial civilian space planes could use Newquay to deploy satellites or other payloads, scientific experiments and for tourism.

Last month the Government announced an expansion of the Aerohub Enterprise Zone to include Goonhilly Earth Station on The Lizard. Here there are ambitions for a space science centre that can attract data centre companies, software developers and other high-tech businesses, the likes of which are already enjoying rapid growth in Cornwall thanks to our world-class digital connectivity.

So when we talk about our future economy we are looking at areas where we can build on unique strengths and assets, with the ultimate goal of creating high quality, well-paid jobs. These are not pipe dreams, and we have every opportunity to put our economy at the cutting edge of emerging sectors like commercial space, renewable energy and e-health.

Doing that means driving economic growth through investment in research, development and innovation, and helping our businesses become part of supply chains in global markets.

That’s why we have ensured that some £30 million of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly EU Growth Programme is earmarked for projects that foster research, development and innovation in business. If we want to see a real innovation culture, which is crucial to tackling low productivity and creating high value jobs, then there must be more investment across our business base. Delivery of those EU-funded projects is currently being tendered.

We also need to make sure that our young people are aware of the opportunities and have the skills to do the jobs of tomorrow. That’s why the Government’s Devolution Deal has given the LEP responsibility to re-shape training and skills across Cornwall to make sure that from 2017 we better address future skills needs.

This includes improved careers advice and much more co-operation between businesses and schools so that young people are energised, engaged and excited about the possibilities for their futures.

The future economy is only one aspect of the LEP’s activity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Much of our focus to date has been working with Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly on securing £60m of Government Growth Deal investment to improve our transport infrastructure and unlock growth. Many projects will come to fruition over the next 18 months.

And we continue to focus on measures to help our local businesses grow and proposer. This includes the formal launch in the coming months of our Growth Hub, a simple and streamlined way to access the support available to them.

Sandra Rothwell is chief executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

Image Credit: pinterest.com
Article via westernmorningnew.co.uk

NOTE: Investigate other topics covered by futurist Thomas Frey

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