Building an inclusive region is one of Cardiff Capital Region’s four key strategic objectives.
This leads to our determination to promote, practice and invest in projects focused on eliminating the economic and social disparities that currently exist in our region.
It reimagines a region built on an inclusive economy generating inclusive prosperity. A region where no one is left behind.
This shapes our vision where people are supported in ‘good work’ that pays a living wage – and empowered to enjoy a healthy and sustainable future.
This drives our commitment to match economic ambitions with progressive social policies, through action designed to build a bigger picture where everyone feels they belong – and can realize their potential here in South East Wales.
This commitment to inclusion is linked to the deployment of our extensive investment fund of £495m and our stated intention to create 25,000 new jobs and a 5% increase in GVA by 2036.
This is why Inclusivity goes through the entire process of CCR projects; with the net result of every project and program ultimately aimed at giving everyone in our region a chance to develop their skills, experience better opportunities, have access to quality public transport, be connected to their community and the world, to enjoy a healthier future – and to make the most of a new unfolding era.
Inclusion includes everyone, everywhere…
For us, ‘inclusion’ includes every single person (all 1.5 million people) living in the 10 unitary authorities that make up our region.
It includes our five priority sectors, our wider trade economy – as well as the wider fundamental economy.
This underpins our pan-regional transport, housing, challenges and skills programmes.
It extends beyond our borders, embracing the links and economic interests we share with South West England through the Western Gateway.
It builds new trade bridges, new trade relationships and new international research partnerships.
It integrates common forces for good and inspires new collaborations that unlock untapped potential.
And it aims to engage, inspire and engage from the bottom up…
An inclusive mission delivered from the bottom up
A mission-driven approach is key to realizing CCR’s overarching ambitions. Over the last five years we have seen both incentivizing and directing activities that will build local wealth by nurturing bottom-up experimentation rather than top-down intervention.
Initiatives like the Challenge Fund have opened up the world of CCR to anyone with an idea and commitment to solving some of the biggest societal challenges we face.
Investments in startups, scaling and spin-offs have seen us breathe life into businesses that create new jobs across all talent communities, from entry-level opportunities in our creative and cyber industries to specialist roles in Fintech and Medtech.
Our vision for Metro Central and Metro Plus is focused on transforming the economic and social prospects of South East Wales – creating an integrated transport system aimed at connecting communities, leveling opportunities and empowering everyone to access all parts of their region .
Our collaborative and cohesive creation of inclusive career pathways, from Level 2 Apprenticeships to the Venture-sponsored MSc in Cyber Security, feeds directly into high-growth sectors that bring economic benefit to our region’s supply chains and communities.
Yes, we are at the beginning of our journey, but the foundations for inclusive success are in place; and our key publications – such as the Future Ready Skills Framework, Vision for Passenger Rail and Prosperity for Our Place – together with our Strategic Plan 2021-2027 and Regional Economic and Industrial Plan are blueprints for what an inclusive region looks like and road maps of how we will get there.
As Lee Hughes, Chair of our Regional Skills Partnerships, such powerful evidence:
“CCR’s vision for an inclusive skills and employment framework has been there since day one. We have brought together thinkers and actors from business, education and training to create an Employment and Skills Plan 2019-22 which reflects the key policy directions set out in the Prosperity for All Act and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (Wales ) – and are now looking to develop a new three-year employment and skills plan that further harnesses the spirit of co-construction that has become a hallmark of everything we do.
We are on track to achieve all our targets, including helping to inform the Welsh Government’s Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales: Jobs and Skills Plan, which was recently launched to leave a positive a legacy for future generations.”
Building an inclusive foundation
So what will building on this foundation of inclusion look like?
This will mean more challenge funds aimed at solving the critical challenges we all face – from decarbonisation to health and wellbeing.
This will mean even closer collaboration across higher and further education to develop skills programs that match more talent with more employers.
This will mean broader and deeper regional transport planning to take a more strategic approach to creating social value and economic inclusion.
That will mean affordable housing programs like the Housing Viability Fund to give people the places and spaces they need and deserve.
This will mean further targeted interventions through initiatives such as the Northern Valleys Transformation Fund, to drive greater inclusion in strategic premises and SME growth.
This will mean developing the upskilling and reskilling academies model, growing our Venture Graduate and other talent programs – and building on our successful Cyber Masters collaboration to launch an ongoing program of priority sector-aligned skills interventions .
This will mean supporting the expansion aspirations of new and existing businesses across every industry and sector – through a £50m 5-year funding program that allows us to develop new strategic sites and premises across the region.
As Suzanne Chesterton, Head of Communications, Governance and Policy at CCR, sums up:
“We’re at a stage where we can start putting a little bit hard measures and key indicators how well we are achieving our vision of inclusion across the region.
These metrics can include the distribution of CCR job creation, the number of completed challenges that measurably solve known societal and community problems, the number of interventions per year that have tangibly increased the number of people in skilled work – all the way to tracking equitable deployment of viability gap funds that enhance the commercial development of our domestic housing and industrial premises, allowing us to identify an increase in affordable housing and industrial premises as a direct result.
It is extremely encouraging to know that we can increasingly use hard data to benchmark our progress against this key strategic objective.”
Inclusion is more than a word. Creates our world…
It is clear to see that CCR views the world through a comprehensive lens, constantly seeking to bring together ideas from all sides as a catalyst for transformation.
Even the vocabulary we use is the language of inclusion… our Regional Economic and Industrial Plan – which is being updated to reflect the changing social, economic and political landscape – is integrated and co-produced with business and education across region … our leadership is based on shared purpose, which has given us a robust framework for investment and intervention … our unique distributed leadership model fosters networked collaboration and inclusive decision-making … and our distinctive governance model exemplifies shared effort and the sense of partnership.
Integration, co-production, sharing, collaboration, partnership… CCR is inclusion in action, through words – and deeds.
These works create proud and resilient communities where people can enjoy a distinctive regional identity and sense of belonging, enabling us all to realize our potential in the changing 21st century.
Like Nicola Somerville, Head of Business Development and Inclusive Growth at CCRso poignantly states:
“There are countless examples of employers, service providers, partnerships and collaborations driving engagement in CCR – from democratizing services digitally to implementing best practices in the workplace. We should be rightly proud – and sometimes loudly – of pushing boundaries and overcoming obstacles to make this region a place for all.”
We’ll be doing just that in our upcoming features, exploring the different ways organizations in our region are making a huge difference through