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Harnessing East Anglia’s Skills and Talent for regional and national benefit

We are a partnership of businesses, further and higher education providers and other organisations from across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk who came together to formulate a joint response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy.  We wished to explore how we could work together to harness our region’s economic strengths whilst ensuring that we are a region that really does work for everyone within it.  Our vision is to ensure that East Anglia residents are equipped to access and participate in the modern workforce in East Anglia and enable themselves, their communities and the regional economy to thrive.  

One of the key brakes on our regional economic prosperity and growth is the workforce to sustain it in the long term. We aim to support the development of a skilled, productive and fulfilled workforce by:

  • Partnering with industry to identify critical workforce skills and requirements for high-skilled jobs in East Anglia; 
  • Sharing information and guidance with education and training providers to design programs to meet these requirements;
  • Improving connections between people and opportunities in industry;
  • Identifying barriers and seeking solutions to remove them; and
  • Influencing policy and funding as needed in support of the above.

We are currently working together to formulate a strategy and identify key activities where the combined efforts and resources of the partners will have the greatest and most sustainable impact, in line with the above. Our immediate priority is to work with employers to inform, guide and coordinate the wide range of skills and aspiration-raising activities that many of us (and others) already individually offer.  Our intent is to help overcome issues of fragmentation so as to ensure a pipeline of activities that can support and build on each other while working to provide equitable access to these programs.

Recognizing that exposure to career opportunities is crucial for young people, our first activity is an initiatve called "Opportunity Days."  This effort will take young employees in local and regional businesses who have entered the workforce through diverse paths into schools to interact with Year 7 students.  It will be piloted in Autumn 2018 with a few selected schools and rolled out to more schools across East Anglia in 2019.  By the summer of 2019, we will have identified our policy and program priorities and have an operational plan in place for taking Accelerate EAST forward. We do not intend this to be yet another new organisation or initiative in an already crowded landscape, but rather, an over-arching and visible umbrella that enables all of the partners to work together to maximise regional economic and social impact. Central to our success will be the partnerships that we develop with education and training providers, companies and other organisations across the region and beyond.   

If our mission inspires and excites you and you would like to get involved, e-mail us at