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What’s behind Teesside’s momentum?

On the banks of the River Tees lies Europe’s largest development area. Once famed for its steel manufacturing and, at the same time, building the world. Today the site – known as Teesworks – is forging a new, sustainable future.

So, what does it take to level up a local area?

Stuart Cottee, Deloitte’s senior partner for Yorkshire and the North-East of England, leads Deloitte’s work in the region. Born not far away, in County Durham, he’s one of the most enthusiastic advocates for levelling up you’ll ever meet. 

“What’s happening on Teesside is fantastic,” he says. “The area is already rich in talent, with a proud history of innovating and getting results. Now it has a vision and ambition that will change its future.” 

Making a difference in regions and nations all over the UK, by supporting each one’s distinct vision and priorities, is important to our firm. Our support for Teesside is an important part of our firm’s commitment to invest in local areas with skills and opportunities.

Building on Teesside’s success

When asked what it takes to level up, Stuart is quick to point out that what’s right for one place won’t always work in another.  

“I’d love to see the same thing happen in Sheffield, the Humber, Barnsley or anywhere else that really needs this kind of support – in a way that works for those areas,” he says.

“We’re all on a learning journey together. There’s a lot from our experience in Teesside we can build on – and it’s exciting to see what happens next.”

1. Bringing people together

“I’m passionate about using Deloitte’s convening power to build a better future. Bringing people together adds value,” says Stuart. To show the opportunities available on Teesside, we hosted a levelling up conference in Middlesbrough where 120 investors, operators, academics, developers and public sector representatives explored the best ways to accelerate growth and develop skills. “As a local, it meant a lot to me to see the public, private and voluntary sectors talking about how we can contribute to economic growth and wellbeing here.”

2. Jobs, skills and goodwill

“Regions need a combination of skills to deliver economic growth,” Stuart continues. “We’re committed to sharing the skills we have, for example, in managing major programmes, developing brands and communicating with potential investors, wherever we can. It’s been amazing to see how much everyone wants to help.” Joining the businesses creating jobs in the area, we’ve announced 25 new tax roles – Deloitte’s first jobs on Teesside.

3. Make change where it’ll make the most difference

“We’ve been lucky enough to work alongside the government as it develops its new economic campus in Darlington, sharing knowledge about where best to put it to support local talent in North East communities,” says Stuart. “Relocating there, as opposed to a major Northern city, is a bold move that will really change things. And for the government, it will give a different perspective, on how other parts of the economy are working.”

Transforming trade with tech

In October 2021, the Chancellor gave the Teesside Freeport the green light, making this the biggest low-tax customs zone – and the first freeport – in the UK.

As part of the freeport, we joined forces with innovation specialists, Plexal, the TVCA, Teesside University, HM Revenue & Customs and others to support the International Chamber of Commerce to set up the Centre for Digital Trade & Innovation (C4DTI) on Teesside.

The C4DTI will be a hub for innovation, bringing organisations together to test and introduce new, digital processes for global trade. Its aims include simplifying processes, reducing cost and making international trade more sustainable – while adding to the vibrant, growing community of innovators on Teesside.

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