RYEDALE needs to invest in workforce skills to increase productivity for growing businesses, according to a report on employment and the economy in North Yorkshire.

James Farrar, assistant director of the economic partnership unit at North Yorkshire County Council, told councillors that a new skills delivery plan will be published next month to win EU funding, which will focus on workforce skills, young people and social inclusion and communities.

The plan, he said in his report to the council’s economy scrutiny committee, aims to set out key priorities for action. “Our economy is driven by small businesses. We need a skills system which understands their needs and reflects this in the skills it gives people,” said Mr Farrar.

“We have identified in our small business priority that much of the growth will come from micro businesses growing and creating one or two extra jobs.

“As a result, there is a need to create ambition and develop the skills of small business owners. We are targeting major growth in agri-tech and bio-renewables, engineering skills and construction skills.

“We need to respond to this by working with industry to attract more people with clearer, better defined career paths.”