Scotland National Strategy for Economic Transformation: Regional Economic Partnerships - evidence

This Paper provides summary evidence received from Scotland's Regional Economic Partnerships as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation engagement process.

2. Ayrshire Regional Economic Partnership

Figure 2.1 – GVA of Ayrshire [3]
Figure 2.1 - Shows the GVA in millions of pounds for the Ayrshire region over 2009 to 2019
Figure 2.2 – Employment of Ayrshire [4]
Figure 2.2 – Shows the Employment of the Ayrshire region over 2009-2019

Regional Aspirations to 2030

The Regional Economic Strategy commits regional partners to prioritise activity to:

  • grow local wealth through community wealth building approach;
  • identify how the region's assets can support clean growth and its climate justice aspirations;
  • provide a strategic regional capability to use digital technology and data to support recovery and renewal;
  • promote investment opportunities to regional and national institutions to benefit communities;
  • support the regional business base on progressive business models, workplace innovation and fair work to create a fair, diverse and resilient local economy; and,
  • seek out innovation and collaboration to achieve more with resources in the region.

Regional Opportunities

The Regional Economic Strategy (draft June 2020) identified the following key sectors as drivers of economic recovery, which reflect projects and themes within the Ayrshire Growth Deal:

  • Advanced Manufacturing;
  • Aerospace/space;
  • Clean Growth;
  • Community Wealth Building;
  • Food & Drink;
  • Life Sciences;
  • Visitor Economy;
  • Business; Connectivity;
  • Digital;
  • Innovation; and,
  • Skills.

There is opportunity to grow employment in the region. Employers within the region are seeking softer skills as well as technical skills. Skills such as customer service and teamwork/collaboration are in demand, as are job-specific skills such as teaching and healthcare-related skills. There are also 'Green jobs' opportunities to support Scotland's transition to net zero.

The increase in homeworking could offer more opportunities for those who live in rural areas, if connectivity is strengthened. This could bring a number of societal and economic benefits and reduce the carbon footprint as commuting activity decreases.

The region also benefits from a strong spacecraft and aircraft industry sector. As much as 54% of Scotland's workforce employed in the manufacture or repair of spacecraft or aircraft are based in Ayrshire (2,810 people).

Following the impact of COVID-19, Brexit and as part of the economic recovery, coupled with the Scottish Government's publication of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), the draft Strategy is being reviewed to reflect the current economic challenges and also to integrate Community Wealth Building principles within the strategy.

Regional Challenges

  • Ayrshire's economy lags behind, and in recent years productivity peformance has been diverging significantly from Scotland. The business base largely comprises SMEs and micro businesses, with only 35 companies across Ayrshire employing more than 250 staff.
  • In the year to March 2020, the Ayrshire region had the second highest unemployment rate in Scotland. Pre-COVID-19 data showed that the unemployment rate for the 16-64 population in Ayrshire was 4.8% compared with 3.5% in Scotland as a whole. Pre-COVID-19 data also showed that the unemployment rate for the 16-24 population in Ayrshire was 12.8% compared with 8.3% nationally.
  • Ayrshire has some of the highest deprevation levels in Scotland, with 27% of children living in poverty (after housing costs deducted from their income) compared to 24% in Scotland as a whole.
  • Future growth in economic activity and employment risks being constrained by skills shortages in the area. 9.3% of Ayrshire's resident population aged between 16 and 64 years have no skills compared to 9.8% for Scotland as a whole. 40.8% for Ayrshire, compared with 45.3% for Scotland have advanced qualifications (HNC/HND, degree level and above).

Ongoing and Planned Activity for Region

  • The Ayrshire Growth Deal is in delivery; the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre is completed and will open its doors to occupants in Spring 2022 with business cases approved for Community Wealth Building and Working for a Healthy Economy. Further business cases for one revenue project and 15 capital projects that support all of the themes listed above as drivers of economic recovery are in development with several projects moving towards implimentation during 2022/23.
  • Both SG and UKG are investing up to £103 million each in the Ayrshire Growth Deal over 10 years from November 2020. The Ayrshire Councils will contribute a further £45.5 million to the Deal.



Back to top