Early in 2022, as the pandemic was easing, the governing council of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce approved a list of 10 projects – the successful delivery of which would be a signal of Glasgow’s economic recovery.

These projects are mainly delivered by complex partnerships between business, academia and the public sector. The Chamber often has no direct role in their delivery but rather offers vocal support from the business community.

The first year’s progress report card suggested that two projects were on track, one had failed and the remainder could still go either way. The green light status was given to this August’s UCI World Cycling Championships and to the city region’s three Innovation Districts. The project marked red was the Clyde Green Freeport although, even there, discussions are under way on securing some benefit which reflects the commitment so many businesses gave to the bid.

Last month the Chamber joined with the city council and world cycling’s governing body, UCI, to explain the impact the cycling championships will have on the economy and the Get Ready Glasgow platform as the route businesses can use to become involved. Glasgow has become both experienced and effective in delivering major sporting events and every indicator suggests the same will be true in August.

Equally encouraging has been the emergence of the Innovation Districts with two led by the University of Strathclyde, one on its city centre campus and the other next to Glasgow Airport. The third led by the University of Glasgow is spread between the Gilmorehill campus and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Details are due to be announced shortly for the 11 research collaborations gaining a share of £33m funding from the UK Government’s Innovation Accelerator Partnership. At least twice as much investment is coming from business and will show that Glasgow can have confidence in the economic potential of engineering, advanced manufacturing and life sciences.

That leaves seven projects where plans still have some way to go. The recovery of the city centre, rebuilding Glasgow Airport’s route portfolio and the next phase of the Scottish Events Campus are included in that list. In each case, the pandemic badly affected normal operations and there is hard work being done to get back to pre-pandemic performance. All have been fundamental to the past 20 years of Glasgow’s growth and will be equally so in the next.

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The remaining four are the Clyde Metro, Glasgow City Council’s Green Investment Prospectus, the Clyde Maritime project to grow shipbuilding and ship repair on the river and, finally, the development of a regional skills campaign to tackle industry skills shortages.

This last project is one of the most frustrating. Businesses from every sector have been struggling to find talent despite Glasgow having one of the highest rates of working-age economic inactivity in the country and one of the highest incidences of the labour force having no qualifications whatsoever. One would have hoped that this would be the moment that colleges, often closest to the most disadvantaged communities, would be preparing to step forward to fill the skills gaps. And yet, just when the jobs are there to be filled, the college sector finds itself under the severest financial pressure.

At best, the funding allocated to colleges in Glasgow has been set at the same level of cash as last year. But flat cash in the current economic environment amounts to a substantial cut. With inflation running at 10% and national wage negotiations likely to add to staffing costs, the options available to college management teams have narrowed. Job losses are beginning to be announced. The Flexible Workforce Development Fund which colleges use to fund skills projects directly with employers has also taken a swingeing cut.

The Scottish Government clearly has no shortage of calls on its budget but if the First Minister’s top priority is to tackle poverty, then surely one of the most effective routes to take people out of that is a good education and the skills to take on a well-paid job.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce