North Wales is one of the few regions within the UK that is expected to soon commence its economic recovery and embark on substantial growth thereafter.
Unfortunately, the UK as a whole is going to face human resources shortages within certain sectors such as hospitality, leisure and construction.
The main reason for the shortage of skilled workers is that about 1.5 million European skilled workers have left the UK.
To replace these workers the UK has to urgently invest in training and upskilling the domestic population, especially young people.
For many years the UK found it much more convenient to employ skilled young people from European countries, hence ignoring developing and upskilling our own young people within our communities.
As people are being discouraged from making international travel, North Wales will become the magnet for UK-based tourism.
North Wales tourism sector has to make itself fully ready for a visitor upsurge. North Wales has an impressive track record for its first-class service delivery, but it now needs to be fully supported to deliver the best possible experience to the visitors to this great region of UK.
The Welsh government must support this battered leisure and tourism sector by helping them to work together with the local training providers to train and upskill our community-based workforce, so they are well prepared to face the challenges of the growth within this sector.
With a timely welcomed £240million growth deal award to North Wales, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (six councils), is about to roll out some major infrastructure development projects.
Additional to the NWEAB projects, private sector developers and housing associations also have plans to develop large numbers of homes in order to deal with the existing shortage of housing in North Wales.
We have already witnessed the construction of industrial buildings, especially in North East Wales.
The development on the Deeside enterprise zone is progressing with speed and businesses are moving in as soon as the commercial buildings are completed.
This is all great news for North Wales. However, this growth and predicted economic recovery will grind to a standstill if we cannot solve the problems regarding the massive shortage of skilled workers.
We as a business community must work with our partners, local authorities, colleges, universities and the Welsh government to tackle the skills shortages within our region.
We must never rely on skilled workers from overseas to rescue our economy. We must now act urgently to support our businesses in construction, leisure, hospitality and tourism before it’s too late.