Tuesday October 24th 2023
West Lothian is bucking the trend in the face of harsh economic conditions with lower levels of unemployment than Scotland or the UK as a whole.
And while many are struggling in times of wage restraints and inflation the council’s business development team has helped 300 new firms set up and is helping to up-skill and retrain the workforce .
The council’s Invest in West Lothian website is a “shop window” to generate new green industry jobs.
Jim Henderson, the council’s Business Development Manager gave an update of the work of the council’s Business Gateway team to a recent meeting of the East Livingston and East Calder Local Area Committee.
The unemployment rate for West Lothian for August this year was 2.7%, which is below the Scottish average of 3.2% and the UK average of 3.7%.
Mr Henderson told the meeting: “It’s worth clarifying that for West Lothian in general the labour market is in a good place. West Lothian has a lower rate of unemployment than the Scotland average, at half a percentage point , and a full percentage point below the UK.
“Although these are small percentage numbers they represent local residents, so every full percentage point represents 1,000 people. So it is important that we analyse closely where we are , and do the very best that we can.
“I would say West Lothian has a lower rate of unemployment than neighbouring areas so we aim to maintain that. There are clearly challenges around wage rates, child poverty and food and fuel insecurity, but we can help.”
The Business Gateway Team provides confidential and impartial support to residents looking to start up in business. It also supports local firms with strategic development and promotes retraining and up-skilling. In the last year it has helped 300 new businesses set up
Mr Henderson pointed out that West Lothian is in a better position than many areas because of the decades of work put into developing partnerships with local businesses to promote better paid employment in the area.
He described the Invest in West Lothian website as a “shop window” to attract business to the county and help boost productivity. The county is at the leading edge of the emerging green economy and home to Mitsubishi, with the largest manufacturer of air source heat pumps, as well as the life sciences sector being a major employer.
Mr Henderson said: “Green jobs really talk to young people and they will also give people the opportunity to retrain and up-skill to do new emerging jobs that pay very well.
“The journey to net zero is going to give people long term opportunities that offer them not just jobs but careers.
“Overall the work we do is always in partnership to make an economic difference.”Tweet Share on Facebook