Exploring identity, place and worker attraction and retention in rural businesses


Organisations within the Derbyshire Peak District, face unique challenges in attracting and retaining staff. Poor connectivity across the region presents difficulties for workers without their own transport, limiting employment opportunities. The area also struggles to attract younger people deterred by high property prices in parts of the region. Covid and Brexit have worsened the situation resulting in significant regional staff losses and skills shortages because of displacement and business closures.

This project, underpinned by the notion of a ‘sense of belonging’ and a holistic place-based approach, is designed to help rural enterprises attract and retain workers in the region.

The research is being funded through NICRE’s Research and Innovation Fund.

Next steps

Findings and recommendations from the project were presented at an event in November 2023 at the Enterprise Centre, Derby. The event focused on identifying solutions to the staffing challenges in the Derbyshire Peak District and featured guest speakers Janet Dwyer, Professor of Rural Policy, Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), co-director of NICRE and Director of Rural England CIC, and Dr Peter Dewhurst, Chair of Business Peak District and the Peak District Partnership.

Key recommendations have been published in a Policy Briefing with a Toolkit for rural employers to follow.