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Cumbria’s future leaders outline their economic priorities

CUMBRIA’S future leaders have come together at a landmark summit to have their say on the region’s economy and outline the things that they feel need to happen to address Cumbria’s key economic challenges, including declining working age population and productivity. Importantly, they also considered Cumbria’s significant growth opportunities and how these could be made to happen.

Almost a 100 young people (aged 18-35) gathered at the North Lakes Hotel in Penrith to take part in the event, organised by the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s Futures Forum.

The day was equally focused on the personal development of all attendees, with inspiring talks from young entrepreneur Oliver Hodgson of Platinum Live Ltd and Kevin Light, international leadership partner from Switched on Leaders. All attendees were given the chance to get a personal report outlining their leadership style and preferences.

Attendees from all across the county considered the issues that mattered most to them – from how to keep our existing young people and attract more people to come and live and work here; how to make sure that Cumbria offers great careers for all that we develop our young people to secure these and how to move forward Cumbria’s commitments to clean energy generation and decarbonisation.

Karla Thomas and Adrian Naik, Co-Chairs of Cumbria LEP Futures Forum, said:

“There was a huge amount of energy in the room, with so many young people passionate about not only the future success of our county, but also the role that they can play in achieving this. We came away with some clear actions and quick wins which can be achieved.

“It’s really important that young people have a real say in Cumbria’s economic future as we are the ones that are most affected. We’re ambitious, have ideas and want to be part of tackling the major issues facing the county… the summit was just the start.”

One of the big themes was how to tackle Cumbria’s declining working age population, with a trend of younger people leaving the county to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Summit attendees discussed potential campaigns that could highlight more the positives of building a life and career in each of the unique districts, demonstrating the breadth of varied opportunities.

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive at Cumbria LEP, said:

“The summit was all about the power of collaboration, providing a real platform for the LEP to hear what really matters to younger people, who are up and coming and future leaders. The discussions, ideas and openness from young people from across the county of how to tackle the big issues was really impressive and everyone left with a feeling that our future prosperity is in safe hands. We will now be building on that energy and momentum. The LEP has committed to respond to each of the ideas identified on the day and to see which of these we can develop into investable propositions”.

“Our Futures Forum is doing a great job at both representing the views of young people and providing a forum to develop and grow the next generation of Cumbria’s leaders.”

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