Golden days surely lie ahead for Glasgow

By Alison McRae, Senior Director of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Just last week, we saw Glasgow City Council approve plans for the reimagined ‘Golden Z’ masterplan.

For those unaware, the Golden Z refers to the geographical area covered by Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. Traditionally these would have been the main shopping streets in Glasgow, but the new plans will see the area transformed into a modern multi-sector city centre which will house a broad range of organisations from hospitability and cultural venues to housing and experiential retail businesses. It is a major step forward for the future of our city and one we are delighted to see receiving wide-ranging support.

Whilst the infrastructure and new design of the streets will take up most of the attention, behind the plans lies an even more interesting story: the future jobs that will come with this redevelopment.

The timing of this is particularly apt with many of our young people returning to, or indeed starting, college and university this month after the summer break.

It is important that we do not overlook the fact that we have so many world-leading education institutions in the city and each year we educate tens of thousands of students who will be ready to enter the marketplace.

Alongside Jim McHarg of Babcock International as Co-Chair of the Glasgow Employment and Skills Board, which has strategic responsibility for Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow, I get to see firsthand the work being done by our members to prepare the next generation of the workforce for the jobs of the future.

It is more difficult now than it has ever been to predict what jobs will be available and, crucially, accessible for young people looking to build their careers.

And that is where the approval of the Golden Z masterplan provides its most critical component – hope.

The plans demonstrate a commitment to the city centre in a way we have not seen in a longtime. It maps out investment, development, sectoral focuses, and where we need it, recovery. It does not shy away from identifying the issues we face in Glasgow, and it puts forward a roadmap for how we will collectively rebuild our city centre for residents and visitors alike.

We now have a multi-sector, collective vision for what we want Glasgow to be, and for young people this is hugely encouraging.

It will create jobs across a wide range of disciplines and attract and retain the best of the country’s talent.

Developing the Young Workforce is a crucial vehicle for delivering employment experiences to young people, expanding their horizons and bringing to life the opportunities that are available to them on leaving school. Underpinned by the Young Person’s Guarantee, it works with employers across all sectors to help create inspirational experiences, supporting young people into pathways that are right for them including apprenticeships, further education or direct employment opportunities.

Combining a workforce programme alongside the Golden Z masterplan, you can begin to see what the future of Glasgow’s economy will look like.

The plans are exciting because we are taking one of Scotland’s most critical economic assets and reshaping it into a destination which will continue to deliver investment and job creation for decades to come.

Glasgow is aiming high to be renowned for its multi-sector approach that will see world-class education centres sit alongside fully integrated experiences across art and cultural exhibitions, nightclubs and restaurants. It will give us a kaleidoscope of reasons to spend time in the city and it is within this mix that we will have an array of jobs created for our young people to explore.

Whether it is through the ambitious plans of Landsec’s Buchanan Galleries or Sovereign Centros’ St Enoch re-developments and the construction jobs which will be created, or the new UK Government Cabinet Office second headquarters and the range of civil service roles that has brought to the city – the opportunities are substantive for our future workforce.

This article was first published in The Herald on Wednesday 06 September 2023