Read the latest round up of news and views from Worcestershire LEP.
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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 33 - March 2014

Introduction from the WLEP
Chair, Peter Pawsey

Our Executive Director, Gary Woodman, and his team have responded fantastically well over the past month to the demands of Government in the preparation of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and March will only intensify that effort further as we work towards the end of month deadline for its submission.
To that end we have been well supported by some additional resources including Ian Edwards, who brings with him many years' experience with AWM and Rural Regeneration Zone, and two secondees from the County Council: Luke Willetts and Nigel Hudson.  Other partners from the private sector and District Councils have also been involved in forming specific aspects of the Plan.   In addition, Clare Marchant, the County’s Assistant Chief Executive, has personally been a major contributor. Clare has recently been appointed as the new Chief Executive to succeed Trish Haines in June.  We are delighted and congratulate Clare on her new appointment in the knowledge that she, like Trish, has been a strong supporter of and ally to the Worcestershire LEP.  An excellent working relationship between business and the public sector has emerged in Worcestershire over the past two years, absolutely in line with Government’s aims and intentions for the LEPs.  I believe we are beginning to see real benefits.
Finally, a word about the national LEP network.  To date this has been co-ordinated through a contract between Government and the British Chambers of Commerce, but from April 1st the 39 LEPs will take control of their own affairs.  To that end a steering Board of nine has been established and, at least for its first year, I will be representing the interests of the six West Midlands LEPs on that Board.  Whilst in some ways there is friendly competition amongst LEPs, there is much to gain from collaboration across borders and from learning from each other. 

£125 Million Access to Finance Programme on its way

Worcestershire LEP has joined forces with the other five West Midlands LEPs to create a major investment fund, worth at least £125 million.
The ‘Regional Investment Fund’ will support growing businesses in Worcestershire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, the Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, and  Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP areas.  The Fund will provide access to a range of finance programmes and will be available from 2015. 
By pooling resources in this way, we will be able to help businesses of all sizes by targeting appropriate support and finance.
There is still significant work to be done to set up the mechanisms to deliver the funds, but we have taken a huge step forward  by reaching this agreement with the other West Midlands LEPs.


Worcestershire LEP welcomes new Heathrow rail link news

Recent news from Thames Valley Berkshire LEP that Network Rail had backed their preferred route for improved rail access from the west into Heathrow is good news for Worcestershire businesses. 

The preferred ‘Western Rail Access to Heathrow’ was originally proposed six years ago and will connect the airport to the Great Western mainline, slashing journey times and bringing significant environmental benefits. The project now enters a consultation phase.

New ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Stourport

Morgan Advanced Materials has chosen Stourport as the location for its new ‘Global Materials Centre of Excellence’, initially creating ten new jobs with the potential for more in the future.
Stourport was selected from a shortlist that included locations in China, North America and Germany and as a result of strong support from the Chancellor, George Osborne, and local Wyre Forest MP, Mark Garnier. 
The Centre of Excellence is expected to become operational later this year.  

LEP’s Investment Strategy recognised

Worcestershire LEP has been ranked as one of England’s top ten Local Enterprise Partnerships in terms of its Foreign Direct Investment Strategy.
Extensive research conducted by the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times collected the data as part of its ‘European Cities and Regions of the Future 2014/15’ report.  Worcestershire was ranked 9th, just ahead of the Black Country LEP.  The top ranking LEP was Sheffield City Region whilst Stoke & Staffordshire LEP was placed third.
Further details about the survey can be found here.

Worcestershire leads the way in flood alleviation technology

One of the country’s market leaders in flood alleviation schemes, UK Flood Barriers, is hosting a reception in Westminster to showcase Britain’s capability to design flood resilient infrastructure. 
Sponsored by Sir Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire, the reception will be attended by Parliamentarians, consulting engineers, contractors and representatives from the construction, transport infrastructure and utilities sectors and  will take place on 11 March.
As world climate systems change and extreme weather conditions become more common, it is important for technology to keep pace.  We are delighted that Droitwich Spa based UK Flood Barriers is leading the way.


Take part in the Quarterly Economic Survey

County businesses are encouraged to complete the Quarterly Economic Survey.  Results will then feed into the British Chamber of Commerce national survey, the largest and most representative independent business survey of its kind in the UK.
Results will influence business policy at the highest levels.  To ensure that your voice is heard, click here
Closing date for entries is Wednesday 19 March.

WLEP pledge to National Apprenticeship Week

The week commencing 3 March is National Apprenticeship Week.  The Employment and Skills Board has a target of delivering 10,000 starts by August 2017 under its apprenticeship plan and is well on track having delivered an 118% increase on its numbers in the last two years. 

Worcestershire LEP is committed to increasing numbers of employers offering high quality apprenticeships for  young people and is working with providers to continuously improve success rates and performance.  In this National Apprenticeship Week, the LEP has pledged to increase the number of apprenticeships in Worcestershire from 5,600 to 6,100 by March 2015. 


Upcoming Events

Wyre Forest Apprenticeship & Jobs Fair
14 March 
Kidderminster Town Hall

WLEP Business Leaders Breakfast Workshop
14 March
Worcester Bosch

LEP Network Conference
26 March

Redditch Engineering & Automotive Show
19 April
Redditch Town Hall

WLEP Annual Conference
10 October 
Droitwich Spa

WLEP Board Meetings:
20 March 
22 May 
24 July 
23 September 
20 November 

Free leadership development

Worcestershire businesses are invited to take part in ‘Exercise Midland Leader’, taking place in Warwickshire on the weekend of 21 March.
143 (West Midlands) Brigade of the Armed Forces are running this free event primarily designed to put potential Army Officers from Reserve Units, Cadet Force and Officer Training Corps through their paces.
The event is also open to non-Army personnel, particularly West Midlands based employees who are interested in gaining insight into the role of the Reserve Army Officer whilst at the same time participating in excellent leadership development.
For further information, please e-mail  Sheila Stephenson or telephone her on 01743 262450.

Business advice coming to you!

Worcestershire Business Central is a county-wide service that provides advice to help firms grow and develop. 
This month, Worcestershire Business Central’s Trailer Roadshow will be visiting county industrial parks.

If you would like to find out about latest services, grants and funding available to your business, pop along and meet the Roadshow team.  There is no need to make an appointment.
17th Malvern (Spring Lane and Engima)
18th Evesham (Vale Park) and Pershore (Key Tech)
19th Worcester  (Warndon/Blackpole)
20th Hartlebury Industrial Estate
21st South Kidderminster (Hoo Farm)
24th Ombersley (Top Barn)
25th Bromsgrove (Aston Fields) Redditch (Moons Moat)
26th Kidderminster (Wyre Forest DC Offices)

For further information call 0300 123 1440 or visit the Business Central website.
Copyright © 2014
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Our mailing address is:
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership
Unit 50-51
Malvern Hills Science Park, Geraldine Road
Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 3SZ
United Kingdom

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