Cornwall is one of the most beautiful corners of the world, I spent most of my summer holidays as a child throughout the whole of Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly, I may be bias as I was born and still live in the South West. However, past all of the beauty lies a problem that is sometimes hidden and needs to be discussed. With just over half a million people living in Cornwall, tourism is worth £b’s to the economy of Cornwall and supports tens of thousands of jobs, but nearly 20 neighbourhoods in Cornwall are currently among the 10% most deprived in England.
Advanced public health analyst Rebecca Cohen recently said “Deprivation across Cornwall is a persistent problem. The areas in poverty are similar or the same ones for the last 30 years”, for example, Treneere in Penzance is within the 2% most deprived areas in England, with Camborne being one of the most deprived areas in the Country. Fishing has dwindled, jobs have declined through mechanisation, sonar, digital and through a big technological creep. And behind Cornwall’s sea and surf, thousands of children are living in poverty.
So, I read with interest that Truro and Penwith College in partnership with various organisations and being part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) have established a new training delivery area for a range of careers in the space sector, the £12 million investment state of the art technology buildings.
This sounds great and exactly what is needed for the future and ensuring careers are built for the future, but is it needed in Cornwall? Will it serve to reduce the huge deprivation and cycle of deprivation that exits in Cornwall?
Cornwall is one of our post-industrial parts of the Country, there is long-term unemployment and long-term deprivation, and long-term decline. Communities are struggling, especially through and post COVID, and there is one of the biggest food banks in the country in Cornwall, with areas of Cornwall that are the poorest of Northern Europe. There are huge areas on inequality.
I am fully behind and fully committed to education, innovation, creativity, technology and the future. One of my new ventures focuses on believing in creating businesses that are inclusive, sustainable, ethical, environmentally sound, scalable and profitable. Where we are passionate about ‘Technology’, ‘Education’ and the ‘Future’.
However, there has to be a time and especially a place for a £12m investment into the space sector! Is it the right place given all of the areas discussed above, and is it the right time given COVID and the cycle that Cornwall is in?
Should there have been a consultation on this with the region, and should there be a focus on looking at ways to reduce the deprivation and poverty that exits in the region? These are questions I have asked myself since reading the article on the £12m investment into the space sector. Should we not focus on the problems immediately in front of us, rather than research and development into space?
To me there should be a focus on the region, especially as an FE College using ESF funding, looking at developmental areas for the region and the creation of local CAREERS, not just jobs. Cornwall is at the forefront of the sustainable energy industry, as part of the Green Economy and The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution (Building back better, supporting green jobs, and accelerating our path to net zero).
Cornwall is well known for mining, there could be huge future development in the mining industry, linking through to local careers and jobs, and apprenticeships, especially Degree Apprenticeships. Investment in mining through being a world leader in the future and technological advances of mining, with a focus on the Green Economy, avoiding global child labour and conflict. More needs to be done in areas like this, areas of need which will lead to careers for all.
To conclude, to me there needs to be a focus on the local region and ensuring that the needs of the region and communities are served. I am writing this as I am passionate about technology and how education must play a part in solving the poverty and deprivation, not just In Cornwall but across the UK and globally. I have also asked many people I know who live in Cornwall and are from Cornwall and their sentiment is in-line with mine.
Should investments be in-line with what is needed in the region? I believe so.
I will leave this here, which is very timely, shows different understandings, will “train local workers”, and in my opinion is outstanding: https://utilitymagazine.com.au/university-to-build-renewable-energy-training-tower-in-ballarat/