Worcestershire Economic Growth – 3rd Highest in England
Dramatic new economic growth figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) last month show that Worcestershire’s economy grew by 16.82% between 2008 and 2013.
This represents an annual average growth of 3.21% against a national average of 2.43% and ranks Worcestershire’s LEP area as the third highest performing region in England.
Only Oxfordshire with a figure of 4.24% and London at 3.44% were higher performing areas with Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershire being the only other two areas to exceed 3%.
News of this economic growth comes on top of recently reported fourfold growth in apprenticeship numbers across the county over the past 3 years, during which unemployment and claimant numbers have also tumbled to levels not seen since 2007 standing at 1.4% in January 2015 compared with 2.5% for the West Midlands.
Private sector investment in developments and job creation across Worcestershire has also topped £600 million in less than 3 years, with much more in the pipeline.
Whilst a lot has been done, further work is taking place to harness the massive further potential across the County and raise the profile of Worcestershire regionally, nationally and internationally as a world class place to do business.
The full announcement is available on our website here.
Business plan workshop – last chance to book
Following the successes from the delivery of the previous Business Plan, we are currently in the process of developing the Business Plan for 2015/6 and are hosting a Business Plan Consultation workshop which is open to all businesses and partner organisations.
Members of the Worcestershire LEP Board and Business Board will be in attendance and local businesses are being reminded that this is their final chance to book a place.
The consultation workshop will take place on:
11 March 2015
8am – 10:30am
Worcestershire Cricket Club, New Road, Worcester, WR2 4QQ.
If you would like to attend, please email email@example.com by 9 March 2015.
Worcester to host the Friends Life Tour Ride Sportive - 4 October 2015
Worcester will host the 2015 Friends Life Tour Ride, a mass participation cycle event for amateur cyclists, on Sunday 4 October as the county celebrates a number of world class sporting events during 2015.
The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership is hosting the Ride, working alongside partner organisations, recognising the role that high profile sporting events have in boosting the local economy.
Three route options will be available, headlined by a 100-mile route, which will showcase some of the most attractive, and hardest, roads in Worcestershire. Entrants can also choose 75 and 35-mile options to suit their abilities.
The Friends Life Tour Ride, which was launched in 2009, is the official sportive of the Friends Life Tour of Britain and Friends Life Women’s Tour races, giving amateur cyclists the chance to have the professional experience and enjoy a full supported ride with all route options incorporating elements of the 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain.
In addition to having hosted the Friends Life Tour of Britain on three occasions since 2007, most notably in 2014 when World Champion elect Michal Kwiatkowski won Stage Four from Worcester to Bristol, Worcestershire is also a regular host of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series in Redditch, which has taken place annually since 2012 with both elite men and women’s races and this year will take place on 19 May 2015.
Businesses may wish to enter teams and should consider the many commercial opportunities that will be available with the Tour of Britain last year bringing almost £1m to our local businesses.
The full information, including how to enter, is available on the website here.
Pictured: Stage Four of the Tour of Britain in Worcestershire
Get involved in National Apprenticeship Week - 9 March to Friday 13 March 2015
Worcestershire organisations are encouraged to get involved in next week’s National Apprenticeship Week.
The National campaign, which runs from Monday 9 March until Friday 13 March, is being marked locally with the launching of a brand new website www.WorcsApprenticeships.org.uk which provides a forum for employers to post any vacancies, job seekers to find the apprenticeship programme which is right for them as well as a host of other information including that for training providers.
To mark the National campaign, apprentices, organisations that offer apprenticeship programmes and those who support the creation of apprenticeship opportunities are being asked to join the Twitter campaign. Materials can be downloaded from the new website so that as well as the hashtag #WorcsApprentices, those taking part can photograph themselves holding up a sign with one of the following messages alongside the new web address which can then be shared via Twitter:
- I am 1 of 10,000 Worcestershire Apprentices
- I am proud to employ Worcestershire Apprentices
- I am proud to support Worcestershire Apprenticeships.
Final reminder - have your say with the apprenticeship surveys
Businesses also have until 15 March 2015, to complete the apprenticeship surveys on the Worcestershire LEP's website or via a link on the new Worcestershire Apprenticeship website. A number of businesses have already taken the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences and the surveys are open until 15 March 2015 to allow others to do so.
Food Enterprise Zone created in Worcestershire to drive growth
A Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) that will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of the Worcestershire countryside and local food producers is to be created, the government announced last month.
The Worcestershire LEP has been allocated funding to create a FEZ in the Vale of Evesham - one of the UK’s leading horticultural areas – and will help extend the current Vale Business Park, which includes food businesses such as Walsh Mushrooms, Prima Fruit and Euro Fresh. The FEZ will support local asparagus producers and will include a partnership with Pershore College to develop ‘field to fork’ educational courses.
This is one of eleven new zones across England that will free up food and farming businesses, making it simpler and easier for them to grow, and will attract new businesses. Local communities will benefit from new jobs and the opportunity to develop local produce, boosting their economies.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Food Enterprise Zones will help unlock the potential of local food and farming businesses, boosting local economies and attracting more investment.
“Consumers both here and abroad want to buy Great British food. These zones will ensure we can grow more top quality produce and expand our food industry, which is worth more than £100bn a year to the UK economy – more than cars and aerospace combined.
“Food and farming is at the heart of our long-term economic plan and vital to securing Britain’s economic future.”
Gary Woodman, Executive Director of the Worcestershire LEP, added: “This announcement is great news for the County with the Vale of Evesham being the only Food Enterprise Zone in the West Midlands.
“This recognition builds on the strengths of our innovative food producers and growers with agri-tech being one of the County’s priority growth sectors. Local businesses will be further supported to grow, increasing their profitability through improved supply chain and exporting opportunities, whilst creating more jobs and furthering the already excellent educational training available at Pershore College.”
Further information is available on our website.
Vibrant workshop for possible City of Culture bid
Last month a vibrant workshop was held to consider what it would take for Worcester and the surrounding area to bid for City of Culture 2021.
The workshop, organised jointly by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council, attracted more than 75 representatives from businesses, local authorities, sporting clubs, arts, cultural and other partner organisations.
The event at Worcester Racecourse, which was open to all stakeholders, sought to bring as many interested parties as possible together to explore:
- The process to make a City of Culture bid
- Who would need to be involved
- What a local bid could look like
- Resources required, financial costs and benefits
- The feasibility of a potential bid.
Attendees heard from Gary Woodman, our Executive Director, and Duncan Sharkey, Managing Director of Worcester City Council about the economic benefits of such a bid, the resources required and what Worcester and the surrounding areas already have to offer.
Robert Keeling, Worcestershire LEP’s Westminster Cabinet Office representative, provided the perspective of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the latest information on that Department’s current consultation process. Until the consultation outcome is known, there could be some changes to the process including in which year the next City of Culture will be effective.
Keith Blundell, a consultant with extensive experience of having worked on previous bids including those successful in Liverpool and Hull, provided a real insight into what would be required for a successful bid. A further understanding of the resources and finances required was also gained, together with a better feel for the range of arts, cultural, sporting and other opportunities available.
Attendees then provided their feedback, considered what could be Worcester’s unique offer, how any challenges could be overcome and how their organisations could possibly be involved. All of the feedback from the workshop is now being collated and considered by the three organisations to understand what the next steps should be.
For further information you can visit our website.
Programme of historic events over next 18 months
This week, thirteenth Century barons stormed their way into the historic Worcester Cathedral, resting place of King John and home of his great tomb, in a re-enactment to publicise the role Worcestershire has played time and again in the struggle for Liberty and Democracy.
There they confronted him with a copy of the Magna Carta, recreating the moment 800 years ago that put in place one of the most important building blocks on the road to democracy in Britain and the world.
From Magna Carta to the Battle of Evesham that brought an end to Simon de Montfort and his establishment of the first representative Parliament, and on to the English Civil War and beyond, the beautiful hills, lands and rivers of Worcestershire have played a central part in the struggles and battles that have created the freedoms we enjoy today.
To celebrate this legacy, an unparalleled programme of historic, immersive and fun events are taking place over the next 18 months that will be highly publicised and bring visitors from far and wide and benefit our businesses. Details of all events are at www.visitworcestershire.org/magnacarta.