Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has highlighted the huge opportunities available at Teesworks and the Teesside Freeport to dozens of the biggest businesses from across the region and wider UK.
At the inaugural event organised by global professional services firm Deloitte, titled Levelling Up – Making it Happen Teesside, over 100 delegates from businesses of all types including Costain, Lloyds Banking Group and Atkins as well as Government departments and other organisations met at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium to understand how they could play a part in achieving the region’s potential.
As part of the day, representatives were provided with a whistle-stop coach tour of the 4,500-acre Teesworks site, the UK’s biggest industrial zone and the heart of the Teesside Freeport, to learn about the businesses already located there, the projects in the pipeline and the opportunities stemming from these.
In a keynote speech, Mayor Houchen spoke of his ambitions for the region, his journey to becoming Mayor and of the need to grasp the opportunities now available to the region with both hands. The Mayor highlighted the hard work channelled into achieving what some described as unobtainable dreams such as buying Teesside Airport and creating the UK’s first Freeport.
The speech was followed by a number of workshops focused on the area’s other key sectors and priorities, such as net zero, the Darlington Economic Campus base for Government departments, helping build skills in the region and also on attracting inward investment.
Mayor Houchen said: “I was delighted to host Deloitte and dozens of delegates at the Riverside Stadium, so they could all see how we are driving forward the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future, and learn how they could all play their part.
“Whether it is being ground zero for net zero and pioneering clean technology that will make net zero by 2050 a reality, or the relocation of over 1,500 senior civil servant jobs to the Government campus in Darlington, we’re now at a moment of unprecedented opportunity. That’s not just for inward investment, influence and innovation but for all our brilliant businesses right across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“This event really showed how we can work together to unlock the potential across our region, giving local people the skills they need to succeed, creating good-quality, well-paid jobs and showing that they don’t need to leave the area for a brilliant career.”
Deloitte’s practice senior partner Stuart Cottee added: “This region holds a special place in my heart – I was born and bred in County Durham and I’ve raised my six children here.
“Levelling up is important to me personally – I want my children and grandchildren to have equal career and education opportunities. But levelling up is just as important to Deloitte and its regions business – over 50% of our people and partners are based outside London. I want to see this region thrive – we have a once in a generation opportunity and we all have a duty to make this happen.”