'Sheffield can lead the country in post-pandemic recovery'

Sheffield is a world-leader in the field of steelSheffield is a world-leader in the field of steel
Sheffield is a world-leader in the field of steel
This pandemic will have far-reaching consequences for the way we live, work and play, as radical as the Industrial Revolution was.

Much will depend on how we react as the Industrial Revolution initially saw social unrest, huge unemployment and a redeployment of thousands from country to town.

However, we did recover and Britain asserted itself as a major world industrial nation.

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Even before coronavirus, increasing technology was already changing workplaces and our leisure practices too.

Graham Moore, of Westfield HealthGraham Moore, of Westfield Health
Graham Moore, of Westfield Health

The current crisis acted as a accelerant for further change. Businesses had to adapt quickly, to secure their customer base and keep staff safe.

Necessity has always been the mother of invention and drove these changes far faster and deeper than otherwise would have been the case.

We had to adapt individually and as a country quickly to both keep ourselves safe and our businesses secure.

Like any revolution, there are winners and losers, with increasing unemployment and worse to come, education and schooling disrupted and not least many people losing their lives.

The latter causing much recriminations about did we react too late to introducing essential public health measures?

However, it will be for others to ponder as the inevitable inquests come and whether we would have taken easily to more draconian measures than those initially introduced .

These were heavy on recommendations relying on personal responsibility and less on enforcement.

Certainly as the current lockdown eases without the coronavirus beaten, we have seen premature indiscipline regarding use of masks and social distancing and growing resistance to even the introduction of possible vaccines.

Hopefully, we are now better placed to cope with the huge social and economic consequences of this latest revolution.

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It has exposed many frailties to address, how low our manufacturing base is compared with many countries and highly dependent on hospitality and service industries.

I welcome plans to extend our own AMRC capability to develop partnerships around the country to initiate cooperation between universities and business to revitalise our flagging manufacturing base.

Our own AWRC can be leader too in the health and wellbeing consequences of Covid-19 and has shown great foresight in establishing a specialist unit to facilitate this.

Sheffield brought stainless steel to the world, so once again can bring leadership and innovation to stimulate the country’s recovery.

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Nationally, we will have to rethink the very nature of work and perhaps can be more productive while still achieving a better work/life balance.

The changing landscape of work will necessitate our education system changing to prepare for this new revolution.

Additionally, the concept of a job for life will be long gone and the training/retraining resources will have to addressed accordingly.

Of course, it will require us to address the social and health Inequalities more assertively as the scale of these huge societal changes accelerate.

We must give hope to those losing livelihoods and jobs.

In Sheffield, we can show the rest of the country we have the capability and expertise to deliver both solutions and the compassion we demonstrated during the coronavirus, to initiate a better life for all.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​