Economy and employment
In Fryslân, as in society as a whole, we are faced with a labour shortage. In the coming years, this will result in a lack of primarily skilled workers. Because of demographic ageing, DUO (the Education Executive) foresees that 10 years from now, the number of skilled workers will reduce by another 15%. We see this shortage all over the country. With the huge transitions in the fields of energy and climate that we are faced with, the demand for skilled workers will only increase. That means that we need a change in how we look at work. Fryslân is the Province of Vocational Education. According to the Frisian Social Planning Agency, 7 out of 10 young people with a vocational diploma enter the professional field. We have a great need of their skills, and they deserve our appreciation.
For too long, the focus has been on higher and university education. However, we are now seeing a trend break. The people with the "golden hands" are the ones who are the winners in the current economic climate. Fryslân has a strong network of SMEs. And especially because the companies here are smaller, they have a closer connection with their staff and their customers. The quality and work ethic of the Frisian skilled workers is renowned the world over.
That means that we need a higher appreciation for practical, vocational education. The Friese Poort and the Friesland College are planning to merge on 1 January 2023. We want to support this new educational institute in its efforts to present itself as the school for practical education. Fryslân wants to be the Province of Practical Skills. That is where we see a role for the Provincial Executive. We want to improve the visibility of crafts and skills in the coming years. For too long, the policy has been to hide away these businesses on an industrial estate. We want this skilled work and this industry to become visible again and be part of the "high street". Working in this industry has to be interesting and attractive. In addition, the FNP wants to strengthen the partnership between education and business, to create more structural collaborations. Good examples of such collaborations can be seen at the Ulbe van Houten school in Sint-Anne/Sint-Annaparochie and the Technasium in Frentsjer/Franeker. The Province will have to boost the dialogue to realise a sustainable future.
Working in Fryslân
A lot of people and organisations are working hard to train and find skilled workers. However, there is no cohesion between these initiatives. What is required, is a central agency that supports the search for skilled workers in Fryslân. This can be a part of the Fryslân Werkt program. For:
The partners are: companies, municipalities, schools and the UWV job centre. For the FNP it is important to pay attention to smaller businesses, who do not have a lot of time and or a HR department to find new personnel, and have no money to offer signing bonuses.
The objectives of Fryslân Werkt can be expanded, for instance with managing the relationships with the Province and organising meetings and activities. All this can promote the dialogue about a sustainable future.
App for standby workers
In the coming period, the FNP wants to focus on the development of a Frisian market place/app for (retired) skilled workers and care workers. In collaboration with the business industry and other Frisian authorities, we want to set up a platform to connect people and companies who have job vacancies. This will create a large pool of standby care, skilled and craft workers. This can relieve the pressure in various sectors, such as hospitality, and meet demand at peak times.
Ljouwert, a grown-up college town
the FNP is proud of Ljouwert/Leeuwarden. We have seen the city become a proper college town in recent years. With NHL/Stenden, Van Hall-Larenstein, the water campus of Wetsus, the RUG Campus Fryslân and various vocational schools, the city has more students than ever before. We want to expand this development, together with the Municipality of Ljouwert.
Fryslân as a special destination
Fryslân has a strong recreational industry, with international appeal. As far as the FNP is concerned, we want to invest in sustainability and attract visitors who come here because they appreciate the beauty of Fryslân. Especially during the COVID pandemic, we saw a lot of other tourists visit Fryslân. However, Fryslân and our islands are no Ibiza, and we don't have to be a tourist trap. We want to invest in the core qualities of Fryslân: space, views and tranquillity, in combination with bustling towns and cities. Countryside tourism and world-class water sports, on and around our lakes, in the Wadden area, and on the island, or in the forests of Gaasterlân/Gaasterland and the Fryske Wâlden/Friese Wouden. The Province plays a supportive and also stimulating role in this respect. We want to see further integration of the history of Fryslân and its rich culture. It is a distinctive and discerning element, and interesting for our guests.
The FNP however also sees a development where people who are on a small budget are driven out of the parks and areas where they used to spend their vacations. The Province does not determine how entrepreneurs run their business, but in the coming years, there must be more attention to keeping Fryslân accessible for everyone. In that context, the FNP remains critical of the expansion of larger holiday parks and resorts. There also has to be special attention for the Wadden islands. The concept of ‘off-peak tourism' no longer exists. This means that staff, business and nature on the islands are under constant pressure. We want to organise a large international conference on one of the islands in the coming period, to discuss the issue of sustainable tourism. How can we realise a sustainable balance between economy, quality of life and ecology? Finding an answer to this question is becoming more and more urgent.
Our cultural heritage is all around us. In our museums, historical city centres and rural areas, for instance the distinctive Frisian farms and the Frisian gully landscape. But there are still lots of treasures buried in the ground and under water that can tell us more about our past. Our immaterial heritage, our traditions, rituals and stories tell us more about where we come from, who we are and how we have grown and changed as a people. The FNP wants to protect this cultural heritage, but also enable new developments. Cultural heritage is at the heart of our society, offers opportunities and connects people. It also contributes to the quality of the landscape and the living environment. It is part of our identity. The story of Fryslân, with its rich history and culture, is a discerning element which is interesting for our own residents and for our guests.