Here in Crawley we have been fortunate to have lower unemployment that is about half the national average and have seen well over 1,000 local jobs created over the last year. Though this is of course good news, as someone who has been unemployed myself in the past, I appreciate that for those out of work, this is of no comfort and it remains 100% of a problem.
There is however cause for optimism as several companies are either moving to or expanding in Crawley. Recently, Tesco’s, Nestle, Virgin Atlantic and Thameslink have all announced the creation of new jobs in our town. This demonstrates a confidence in our local economy that, given the current economic climate, is very impressive.
Crawley is undoubtedly the economic engine of West Sussex and Surrey and this is recognised by the fact that so many world class companies wish to locate here. We benefit from excellent travel links with the airport and infrastructure up to London, as well as an increasingly skilled workforce thanks to a 74% rise in Apprenticeships over the last year, and the introduction of a university presence at Central Sussex College.
Another positive for those looking for work in Crawley or hoping to move jobs, is a brand new website called gatwickdiamondjobs.com, which I have been pleased to support and promote in its development. This website is created solely for those looking for work in the Gatwick Diamond area. They work with top employers and training providers to connect people with the right jobs for them. Not only do they advertise the local areas best jobs, they work proactively to create local jobs for local people.
In association with a variety of partners including British Airways, American Express and Gatwick Airport, Gatwick Diamond Jobs aims to make recruiting affordable and increase higher value jobs. The website is free to use with a wide variety of positions from all sectors advertised. They will deliberately attempt to link people with specific skills to specific roles. It also offers comprehensive advice to those seeking work as well and information to those looking to carry out further training. I encourage anyone looking for work or to retrain to visit their website: www.gatwickdiamondjobs.com
I was also delighted recently to launch the first Federation of Small Businesses Startup Crawley event. This day long exhibition at Crawley Civil Hall offered support and advice to local entrepreneurs who are seeking to develop new firms. I am sure that with the knowledge and skills learnt at this exhibition, we will see many more successful start-ups in our town over the coming months. Combined with gatwickdiamondjobs.com, I hope to see unemployment fall further in Crawley and our town continue to prosper and affirm its status as the economic heart of West Sussex and Surrey.