A new commission has been set up to improve the supply of skills for the financial and professional services industry in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Made up of senior leaders in financial and related professional services, education and local government, the Yorkshire and the Humber Financial and Professional Services Skills Commission aims to create a shared understanding of the skills the industry needs in the region and to develop a plan to close the gap.

Over the next six months it will conduct evidence sessions with relevant experts, engage widely with business leaders and others, and conduct focus groups with the public to inform its work.

Financial and professional services play a critical role in Yorkshire and the Humber, employing around 150,000 people in the region, making up around 9% of its economy.

This includes centuries old building societies, cutting edge fin tech firms and major offices for some of the UK’s biggest finance, legal and consulting firms.

Recent years have also seen government institutions focused on finance, such as the National Infrastructure Bank, the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology, and the northern hub of the Bank of England become established in the region.

The industry is set to grow strongly in future but faces challenges securing the diverse range of skills it needs to do so, including as a result of changing ways of working, competition from other parts of the country to keep talent in the region, and competition from other sectors.

The Commission has been convened by Yorkshire Building Society and will be chaired by John Heaps, the chair of Yorkshire Building Society. It is being delivered with the support of industry bodies TheCityUK, the City of London Corporation, and The Financial Services Skills Commission, with public policy specialists Public First leading the research.

It aims to publish a report setting out its findings in the autumn.

Commenting on the launch of the Commission, Mr Heaps said: “Financial and professional services play a critical role in the success of Yorkshire and the Humber - employing around 150,000 people in the region and making up around 9% of its economy – but the sector faces significant challenges in securing the skills and talent needed if it is to grow as strongly as predicted.

“The work of the Commission therefore is vital in determining the priorities we need to improve the skills of the region’s workforce for the future and I’m confident, with cross-industry collaboration, it will result in meaningful recommendations that will enable a talent pipeline for financial and professional services that will benefit the region’s economy.”