North Norfolk enterprise centre blueprint to boost education and training
- Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC
A blueprint has been set out for a new business hub meeting modern economic needs in north Norfolk.
The enterprise centre would focus on providing training in the so-called STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths.
North Walsham has been earmarked as a possible location for the facility, estimated to cost £4.3m.
Education programmes would be designed to boost job opportunities for young people in the area.
The North Norfolk STEM Enterprise Centre would support the 'thriving' food and drink, energy, and manufacturing sectors and meet anticipated growth in the science, IT and creative industries, according to a report prepared for North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) cabinet members.
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NNDC leaders have agreed to fund a £50,000 business plan.
The report also said that many successful and growing businesses in the area experienced difficulties in recruiting staff.
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Business start-ups were also 'lagging behind' national and regional averages.
The hub would provide a base for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, providing coordinated support to help development and growth.
Nigel Dixon, portfolio holder for business, economic development and tourism, said: 'STEM skills are in short supply and businesses are keen to recruit people with them.'
Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'This is exactly the right thing to be doing. It is vital we benefit the district in this way and ensure young people have the right skills.'
He added: 'This will build on growing levels of employment and ensure the prosperity of the district all year round.'
The business study will look at the timescale, funding and potential sites for the centre. It follows a feasibility plan carried out by Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Service on behalf of the council.
It found the project could achieve an annual income of more than £300,000 after three years and provide a return on investment of just over 1pc.