With our everyday lives having transitioned into a new type of normal and priorities adjusting to fit this different landscape, local regions are quickly becoming a hotspot of activity and promise.

What better place to take advantage of these enterprising prospects than the best kept secret in the heart of the UK: Staffordshire.

As a nationally valued hub of innovation and creativity in an ideal central location, the county is constantly evolving to provide new and exciting opportunities.

We Are Staffordshire is holding a special round table event so that those in surrounding regions can find out what Staffordshire has to offer them and their industries. “A nationally valued centre: What can Staffordshire, offer the Midlands and North West economies in a post-COVID world?” will take place on Tuesday, July 20 at 12.30pm. For tickets, click here.

Work

After a year of restrictions, the world of work has found an unexpected sense of freedom. No longer are big city-based offices a necessity as virtual connections happen straight from our homes to every corner of the UK.

A diverse place for business with ever-growing ambition, Staffordshire is fast showing itself to be a first-rate choice for those in the business industry. With an economy worth more than £18bn, one of the largest in the West Midlands, and number one for job growth in the UK, the hard-working hub is not one to overlook.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice Chancellor of Keele University and Chair of Network Staffordshire, said: “Staffordshire is not only located in the heart of the UK, but it is also quickly becoming the heart of the UK’s transition to a digital and sustainable future.

Just in Newcastle-under-Lyme alone, initiatives such as the Town Investment Plan are improving the physical and digital connectivity of the area, boosting the local economy by millions every year, regenerating communities across the borough and making it a more attractive place to live, work, study and invest in.

“And I know that similar programmes are taking place all over the county, bringing huge benefits to the current and future residents and businesses of Staffordshire.”

A cost-effective place to live and learn, work and thrive, the area offers potential salary savings of more than 11% against the national average. Businesses can enjoy lower cost premises and competitive wage costs that can accumulate big savings compared to other cities.

With more than three million people within an hour’s drive from its position in the centre of the country and Manchester, Birmingham and London are less than 90 minutes away on the train, Staffordshire really is the beating heart of the nation. Plus, when Stafford becomes a major rail hub for HS2, journey times are due to reduce even more as the new regional opportunities speed forward.

Invest

Since the first recorded mention of Staffordshire in 1016, its reputation as the ‘Creative County’ has continued to be upheld. The county makes sure that the impressive talent across varying industries is constantly being nurtured and supported so everyone can reach their full potential.

Skilled workers have benefited from Staffordshire being responsible for half of the national jobs in manufacturing for more than ten years, and the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone has added £18.55m to the local economy alongside employing more than 1,000 people. In fact, Stoke-on-Trent is pleased to be named the number one city in the UK for female-led start-ups.

Creating opportunities for excellence is the focus of the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, an organisation that last year brought in more than £1bn additional investments for various developments across the region.

Part of its investment is in the Growth Hub which has made more than 40,000 interventions to support local businesses since its launch in 2015, acting as a focal point for businesses in the area, driving strong and sustainable business growth by referring to coordinated programmes and signposting to specialist information, advice and services.

Such vital resources for start-ups, SMEs and entrepreneurs, it shows much the county is willing to invest in creating a long-lasting, successful business industry right here on our doorstep. Even local people are passionate about Staffordshire's prospects and promise, seen through the thriving Ambassador network of advocates for the area.

Play

We’ve all come to appreciate how the outdoors and wellbeing are connected after 2020 kept most of us indoors. Previously treasured green spaces and heritage sites have taken on a new sense of importance and this reliance on these areas for a relieving break from the world is only set to continue.

Thankfully for Staffordshire residents, the local area is overflowing with interesting places and breathtaking scenes.

In amongst the urban centres and historic market towns, areas of outstanding natural beauty like the Staffordshire Peak District, Cannock Chase, Kinver Edge and 154 miles of canals provide a welcomed escape from the busy and often turbulent world.

The heart of heritage and cultural developments, the county represents the UK with many of its national attractions. From wars to words, Staffordshire has a bounty of iconic references to discover like the WWII Spitfire exhibition and writer Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum in Lichfield.

Known for the finest collections of pottery, historical craftsmanship can be uncovered at Wedgwood, Moorcroft and more. Other days out can include exploring nature at the National Forest, discovering where UK brewing began at the National Brewery Centre, and taking time to remember at the National Memorial Arboretum.

More re-openings mean that the thrill-seekers have an abundance of choice to kickstart some excitement into their routine once again, with Alton Towers and Drayton Manor theme parks at easy reach. Without the David Attenborough commentary but finally off-screen and in real life, the 13 zoos and farms across the county transport visitors into another world. After all, most aren’t used to walking alongside a family of monkeys or feeding penguins in their daily lives.

With all of these attractions, there’s no wonder there were more than 28.1 million trips to Staffordshire made in 2019.

Live

From ‘stay at home’ to work-from-home, home has become even more important this past year. Whatever it means to you, whether its your house, family or region, Staffordshire is constantly levelling up to create the perfect ‘home’ for its residents to prosper.

The more than 879,000 people who enjoy life in Staffordshire have seen a 17% increase in wages in the past 10 years, beating the national average for greater skilled and higher paid jobs. With more than 103,000 new jobs expected by 2038, the county is constantly providing people with the tools to succeed.

Supporting growth in families and young people from the early stages, 84% of state schools in Staffordshire are rated Ofsted good or outstanding, with £241m being put into new pupil places to invest in the next generation.

Ensuring the county is a sustainable and healthy place to live in for years to come, Staffordshire County Council is intent on succeeding with its climate pledge and net zero commitment. Swapping from car to bike will be easy for commuters popping back to the office with 25km of new cycling and walking paths created to support greener travel.

For those still working from home, cheap but sustainable heating will be provided by the Stoke-on-Trent District Heating Network, one of only two such geothermal district heating systems in the UK.

With constant investments being put into the county, Staffordshire is making sure that those in the West Midlands, East Midlands and North West can experience the outstanding opportunities and facilities it provides in order to help them excel.

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