Britain’s economy has, for too long, been too centralised in London and the South East of England. That’s created some structural problems in our economy and society, leading to unhealthy regional inequalities of opportunities – with jobs and investment unduly clustered. And companies have lost out on great talent that lives beyond the M25.  

That is why we are delighted to announce that TalkTalk has now joined the Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme – an initiative working to boost the northern economy with investment in skills, innovation, infrastructure and culture.

This is a natural fit for us. As a major employer and infrastructure provider ourselves in the region, we’re proud to support the ambitions to develop the Northern economy and the Northern Powerhouse objectives to build advocacy, champion the impact of devolution and demonstrate that the region is fully connected and energised.

And as we approach the completion of our HQ relocation to Salford – a move that was announced just 12 months’ ago – it’s a good time to reflect on how TalkTalk has become part of the local community.

100s of jobs filled in Salford

Over the last few months, we have recruited 350 new hires, filling nearly 600 roles across all levels and skillsets. After recruiting people at the rate of four new people every working day, we now employ over 1,800 colleagues in Salford Quays.

We are also striking links with local academic institutions including the University of Salford, the Manchester Business School and the newly launched University of 92. By sponsoring some UA92 students through their studies, we want to give those who may otherwise face barriers to degree level education, the financial and career support required so they’re set-up for future success.

Creating roots in the community

Of course, this isn’t just an office for us. That is why we are actively engaging with civil society groups whose values mirror our own. That is at the heart of the reason we chose to partner with Salford FC – like TalkTalk, a challenger brand committed to shaking things up and doing things differently, from freezing ticket prices to launching a partner university. 

We are also building new links with the local community including working with schools and charities to share our expertise and lend our support where we can.

Exceeding expectations

The success of our Soapworks site in Salford Quays has exceeded all expectations – we have attracted the very best talent and have built a community where our staff flourish. We are proud that we can play our part in driving growth and creating new opportunities in the region.

And it’s not just about talent. We’re accelerating investment in the north’s digital infrastructure. With our company, FibreNation, we’re currently building a new full fibre broadband network for Britain, that will give consumers and businesses the faster, reliable connectivity a modern digital economy needs. We’ve made a conscious choice not to start in London or the South East. Instead we started in York and now rolling out to three other towns in the north.

Committing to the Northern Powerhouse is only the beginning – and we’re looking forward to working with partners to drive forward the growth of the North as a true hub for talent, technology and business excellence.

Tristia Harrison, Chief Executive of TalkTalk