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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 29 - November 2013

Introduction from the WLEP Chair,
Peter Pawsey

October has been a pivotal period in the life of the Worcestershire LEP.  Just how pivotal remains to be seen but it has certainly been a key period in our development as a catalyst for economic growth in the county.
Earlier in the month we held the WLEP’s third Annual Conference and we produced a 2012/3  Annual Report on our work and achievements, measured against the parameters set out in the Business Plan which in turn was presented at last year’s Conference in November 2012.  It is of course for each of you to decide just how well we are or are not performing and whether you believe that we are contributing positively to the economic recovery that is clearly showing nationally and across most of Worcestershire, but from the WLEP Board’s viewpoint, we believe that we have added strong and positive focus and impetus to many of the collective successes to date.
Our Conference followed immediately after the LEP Network’s National Conference held at The British Library in London.  We in WLEP have been significant contributors to the overall work and outputs of the 39 LEPs and such events allow us to benchmark ourselves in an informal way against other LEPs.  I am not unhappy with the way Worcestershire stacks up against other areas and we are near the top of several comparative measures on the economy.  But that does not signal complacency for we still have much to do.  We have several areas of comparative deprivation and we also have far too many young people out of work.
October has also been a period of intensive activity in producing and submitting our draft European Structural & Investment Funds Strategy document to secure at least the indicative level of £58 million over the period 2014 – 2021 into Worcestershire.  As you may imagine, such a bid for EU Funds is not a simple exercise so I am extremely grateful to Gary and his executive team, together with our consultants, for a job well done – at least so far, according to the preliminary feedback recently received.
That process is far from finished and we are also heavily engaged in producing an overall Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) as the basis for negotiation with Government for as good a deal as we can secure in obtaining our share of the £2 billion initial Government ‘Single Pot’ fund for 2015/6 together with ongoing annual sums during the following 5 years.  Onwards and upwards.

European funding update

EU structural and investment funds exist to promote growth.  Each Local Enterprise Partnership will lead the development of its local strategy, which will form part of partnerships' wider strategic economic plans. 

Delivery of the existing Worcestershire LEP Business Plan is already under way with a range of businesses, third sector and public partners and interests focused on delivery.  WLEP are preparing for the Government's Growth Deal by preparing a wider strategic economic plan and European Strategy for 2014 - 2020.

Over the summer WLEP held working discussions and various collaborations continue to be explored where Worcestershire can expand its ambitions further using these newly available funds.

The WLEP have produced a draft strategy to Government in order to inform negotiations at a European level, this is available on our website.

If you wish to know more, contact the office or watch this space for future announcements.

Conference review

We were pleased to welcome more than 300 delegates to our Annual Conference, held at Worcester Sixways on 10 October. 

The objective of the conference was for us to provide an update on LEP activities, including progress against targets, and to give an overview of our plans for the future.  We also wanted to give delegates the opportunity to hear from Government and successful local businesses.

A full report from the event can be found here

Our thanks to all those who attended.  We are currently collating feedback from delegates, but the overwhelming response seems to be that it was a fantastically informative, enjoyable and valuable occasion.

Here’s to next year!

WLEP Annual Report now available

We used the Annual Conference as an opportunity to launch the new WLEP Annual Report.  Covering the period from 2012-13, you can download a pdf version of the Report from our website.

Alternatively if you would like to receive a hard copy, please contact us. 

New funding available for West Midlands’ manufactuers

MANUFACTURERS in the West Midlands are set to receive a major boost after new funding was released to the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).  £2.2m has been assigned to MAS from the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund to help growth and create new jobs for the region.

For the first time, MAS will be able to provide ‘transformational’ support worth up to £10,000 to help companies looking to significantly grow by entering new markets, developing products or implementing strategic change projects. 

Under the additional ERDF funding, manufacturers will receive an in-depth business review from a specialist MAS adviser, who will help them to develop an action plan that can be used to determine eligibility for financial support. 

The emphasis will be on major strategic change projects that result in significant process improvement, supply chain development, diversification and, ultimately, result in job creation.

A week of activities is planned for 25 November to include the launch of the next MAS ‘Barometer’, a series of debates and events covering topics such as innovation, skills, international trade and access to finance.

For further information, call 0845 658 9600 or click here.

New Workforce Skills for Worcestershire Businesses!

National reorganisation of the Armed Forces means that 18,000 skilled personnel will be leaving their military posts during the next few months with a wide range of transferable individual and team skills to offer potential employers.
A Living and Working Fair is being held on Thursday 5 December in Worcester to showcase all that the county has on offer to attract exiting personnel, spouses and families. Worcestershire offers housing, schools, leisure activities, quality of life and new career opportunities and is one of a handful of national locations selected by the Armed Forces to host this face to face exchange.  
Businesses of all sizes will be able to meet people skilled in strategic management, advanced technologies, engineering, HGV driving, logistics and security.    
The Fair is being held in the new Army Reserve Centre at Dancox House, Pheasant Street, Worcester WR1 2EE. Businesses are invited to attend and network with potential employees, set up exhibition stands and/or provide short presentations on their career opportunities throughout the day. The event is free, light refreshments will be available and there is no charge to exhibitors.
To secure a place, contact the WLEP Office for a booking form or email before 21 November 2013. Detailed instructions will then follow.

Importance of Tourism for Worcestershire

A recent report commissioned by the LEP found that 1/10th of the county’s workforce – equating to more than 25,000 jobs – is employed in tourism related industries. Tourism related businesses account for 5.7% of all Worcestershire firms.

According to the latest available statistics, total visitor expenditure amounts to £538 million, the majority coming from ‘domestic day visitors’.

There are wide variations within Worcestershire’s districts.  Wychavon, Worcester City and Malvern Hills are the most popular destinations. The West Midlands Safari Park in Kidderminster is among the most important individual attractions in terms of number of visitors, together with the Severn Valley Railway, the Malvern Hills, events at the Three Counties Showground and the annual Worcester City Centre Victorian Christmas Fayre.

Tourism has been identified by the LEP as one of its key strategic business and employment sectors.  This report helps to understand the value of the sector to the county and provides a benchmark for future development.  To view the report, click here.

Securing the next generation

Leaders from Worcestershire’s businesses, voluntary, community and public sector organisations, collaborating together as the Shenstone Group, have pledged to cooperate as part of a new project aimed at creating a better long term future for Worcestershire.
Worcestershire Next Generation launched on 1 October and outlines 25 commitments that focus on three linked priorities -  prosperity, community and environment - and is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of life for the county's residents by 2040 and beyond.
The project is seeking to stimulate cross-sector participation in shaping a prosperous, vibrant and inclusive county into the future on the basis that by working together far more can be achieved than if things are done separately.
Visit the dedicated website to find out more.

Chamber of Commerce Business Expo

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce will be holding its next Business Expo on 13 November from 8am-3pm at the Chateau Impney, Droitwich Spa. 

This year’s event takes place as part of national Export Week and there will be plenty of opportunities for businesses to hear from industry experts and trade advisers. The Chamber will have dedicated international trade advisers on hand to support businesses that are currently exporting or thinking of expanding into new markets.  A programme of seminars will also be on offer to provide insight into areas in which your business can innovate and expand.

With over 70 exhibitors in attendance, the expo will be the perfect opportunity for you to meet new suppliers and to network with other businesses from the two counties.

Further information is available here:  

Forthcoming Events

Get ahead, get an apprentice 
12 November, Worcester
Click for further information

H&W Chamber of Commerce
Business Expo 2013
13 November, Droitwich Spa
Click for further information

TSB Cyber Security launch pad
13 November, Malvern
Click for further information

PRIME workshop
13 November, Guildhall, Worcester
Click for further information

LEP Board Meeting
28 November, Worcester

Service Personnel:
Living and Working in Worcs
5 December, Worcester

The Great Worcester Showcase
6 December, Worcester

Modern Apprentice opportunity at WLEP

Worcestershire LEP is looking for a Business Administration Apprentice.
Further details can be found here or please contact the LEP office. 

Funding Success at Malvern Hills Science Park

A £4 million Government fund has been approved to support the expansion of Malvern Hills Science Park.  £1 million will be provided this year, followed by a further £3 million in 2014, enabling an additional 25,000 sq ft of offices and laboratories and, potentially, 150 new jobs to be created.

New film commemorates Second World War veterans

In fulfilling the WLEP's commitment to the Armed Forces Community Covenant in Worcestershire, one early outcome is a short remembrance film.
Entitled  ‘We Did Our Bit’, the film comprises a powerful series of interviews with World War II veterans and is now available to view online.

Economic indicators good for Worcs

October was another good month for Worcestershire with the number of Job Seekers’ Allowance claimants down by 554: its lowest level since November 2008.
At 2.4% of the 16-64 resident population, Worcestershire’s claimant count rate is much lower than the West Midlands region as a whole (4.1%) and below the national figure (3.2%).
Full details are available here

The ‘Great Worcester Showcase’

A ‘Great Worcester Showcase’ being organised by the City Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration team promises to provide a ‘visual and hands-on experience’.
Targeted at decision makers in both the public and private sectors, the Showcase  is being held on Friday 6 December and will cover three key city-centre sites:  the Guildhall, Arena and Worcestershire County Cricket Club.
Further information is available from David Blake: 01905 722536.

TSB Cyber Security launch pad

A free workshop is being held in Malvern for businesses to find out more about a new Cyber LaunchPad competition.  Through this, the Technology Strategy Board plans to invest £500,000 with SMEs associated with the Severn Valley area to support the development of the cyber security sector.

The competition aims to fund exciting and innovative projects that may be too risky for a company to fund alone, or that may take them into new areas. 

The event will be held at the Malvern Hills Science Park on 13 November and will provide an overview of the competition together with the opportunity to ask questions.
To book a place or for more information, please click here.

UKTI Export Week

The week commencing 11 November is UKTI Export Week.

For a full list of events happening in the West Midlands region, click here.

Business support for aspiring over 50s entrepreneurs

The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) is hosting a series of interactive workshops in Worcester to help people over the age of 50, who are out of work or facing redundancy, to start their own businesses.

The first of three workshops is taking place on Wednesday, 13 November, at the Guildhall, and for more information, click here.

Copyright © 2013
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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