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Growth Without Gimmicks – What’s Next for the Northern Powerhouse

Downtown in Business and Avison Young are currently hosting a series of events looking at "What's Next for the Northern Powerhouse?". Here we take a look back at some of the key points discussed at the Liverpool event.

Downtown in Business is currently hosting a series of events with global commercial real estate services firm, Avison Young, most recently has hosted a special event at the Pullman Hotel, Liverpool at the event entitled ‘Growth Without Gimmicks – What’s Next for the Northern Powerhouse?’

The current government have made a promise to ‘level up’ to address regional inequality, but two years on, what does it mean? At this event our guests discussed what is next for the Northern Powerhouse, the UK wide skills gap, the towns vs cities debate, the importance of investment into our local towns to aid their regeneration and much more.

The event was chaired by Downtown in Business director, Chris McKenna who was joined by Principal and Managing Director at Avison Young Liverpool, Stephen Cowperthwaite who stated that ‘no borough should be left behind’ to lead the towns vs cities debate.

Stephen continued; ‘However, as a city, we build on top of what makes a city attractive to visitors. Liverpool had a ‘good pandemic’ due to the developments made in the last 18 months and hopefully we see these developments go further, post pandemic.’

Rachael Patterson from the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool pointed out that as a city Liverpool is a hub of innovation that isn’t being utilised, and how we should be leading pioneers with KQ being the pioneers of innovation. With Managing Director of ACC Liverpool, Faye Dyer stating we need a ‘where are we now and where are we getting the north to?’ approach to developing cities and towns. ‘A long term commitment to always be levelling up is needed’.

The discussion then turned to the UK skills gap, particularly with young people coming out of education and being unsure of job opportunities that are available to them. Sales Manager from Staycity Aparthotels, Marian Cotter stated ‘We need to be going to the schools to help develop the skills of young people. We have some of the best companies in the country within the city to help young people into work and to give them a chance within employment if they are unsure about higher education. These kids deserve the help to bridge that skills gap.’ Rachael Patterson commented ‘if we keep letting young people know what careers exist in Liverpool and engaging with them from as young as possible, we can aim to raise aspirations and help to close the skills gap.’

The discussion concluded during a continued discussion over lunch with details being shared about the upcoming ‘Skills Festival’ taking place across the city in January to help young people to see where their skills can be utilised within job roles, plus a conversation around how towns need more investment to help in their plans for regeneration including the likes of St Helens and Birkenhead.

The last in the series of ‘Growth Without Gimmicks’ events with Avison Young will be taking place at the Hilton Hotel, Leeds on Thursday 25th November – get in touch now if you would like to be a part of the discussion.

For information about future Downtown events contact

Downtown in Business