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The highlight for me in 2018 was the announcement in July about a new world class campus, which is going to be based in Glasgow. It's going to have 5,000 people under one roof, and it really is going to be fantastic to see the growth and the opportunities that that brings to the business.
The Oil and Gas sector in Scotland, it's a big part of our economy, the UK Continental Shelf has had a tough ride over the last four or five years, but you know, the question I get asked a lot is ‘are we turning a corner?’ and I think we are. I think what we’re seeing is M&A activity returning so a lot of the E&P companies investing which is great, and that provides opportunities further down the supply chain.
Some sectors are doing really well, and continuing to do well. Hospitality and Leisure’s a big sector for Scotland. Up in Inverness for instance you've got the North Coast 500 which is a new concept for tourism, taking people right around the Highlands of Scotland, and that’s really opening up that part of Scotland which is great to see.
The Food and Drink sectors specifically in Scotland’s been very strong and has continued to be strong over a large number of years. We're seeing a lot of businesses grow and continuing to grow, we’re seeing a lot of new entrants in the market which is – which is interesting and exciting. And you know, within that the sub sector of whisky has really, really done well. It's a global market, it's benefitting from the low sterling so exports are really high.
One of the things I constantly hear when I'm speaking to board members and from companies is around the skill shortage and matching skills to their requirements, and I think some of the companies, especially manufacturing really need to address that, really attract some young versatile skilled talent in to the business.
Only 6% of people between the age of 16 and 23 actually choose manufacturing as an option, I think if we’re gonna build that base in Scotland and, and indeed the UK, we really need to attract people in to the business.
So if we can get confidence back in to the market and we see companies investing and growing, key for them is going to be access to finance and that’s where I see Barclays playing a massive role in terms of helping them, you know, with their working capital cycles or their trade cycles, whether it's exporting abroad or whether it's just domestic growth or investment in Capex, there's ways in which we can certainly be helping companies and hopefully that confidence will return and we’ll have a strong 2019.
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