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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 34 - April 2014

Introduction from the WLEP
Chair, Peter Pawsey

I am delighted to say that the vast majority if not all of the key businesses, the local authorities, other public and third sector stakeholders across the county have come together and agreed on a Strategic Economic Plan for Worcestershire spanning the next five to ten years.
That has been a monumental feat and I am immensely proud of the LEP team who have led the exercise.  I'm extremely grateful to so many others from all parts of the county who have supported that effort and added valuable contributions, especially some key County Council individuals without whose help we would have fallen short of our targets – they know who they are! 

So we have produced our Plan and submitted it to Government alongside 38 others from LEPs across England and now it is under Westminster scrutiny.  Whatever the outcome, the exercise has been immensely valuable as it will guide decision makers on the priorities for growing our economy, creating jobs and making Worcestershire an even better place to live, work and play.

The Plan seeks some £258million from Government over the 5 year period and looks to create about 25,000 new jobs.  We are seeking funding support for our four key ‘gamechanger’ employment sites, for three major highway improvement schemes, for Parkway Station and improved rail services to both London and Birmingham, for skills funding including 10,000 apprenticeship places, for 20 other initiatives to improve our place, people and businesses, for 14 ‘asks’ of Government to reduce red tape and accelerate growth, and more …..
The process is a negotiation on such matters during the next four months, so we all need to lobby our politicians and civil servants hard. 

I had the pleasure of being able to commence that exercise when I met the Prime Minister along with Greg Clark at a session with some other LEP Chairs in Manchester last week, where we learned that the ‘bidding’ is oversubscribed by a factor of three – no surprises there!  Clearly David Cameron is excited by response from LEPs and he is totally behind this business led initiative.
Rest assured that we will keep pushing for Worcestershire and that is also where so many of you can help – keep raising the profile.  And what a great start we had to that end this last weekend with Pineau De Re and the good doctor, Richard Newland, from Claines, Worcester winning the Grand National!  Let’s have more success and good publicity.

SEP summary delivered to MPs in Westminster

Our Executive Chair, Peter Pawsey and Board Members Simon Geraghty and Dean Attwell, took the opportunity of the LEP Network Annual Conference on 26 March to deliver copies of our SEP summary document to Westminster.

The conference featured presentations from several Ministers and other senior figures and we were delighted that Worcestershire LEP got a special mention from the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, for its cross boundary working with Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and also from Lord Heseltine, who praised our innovative Connecting Schools and Business initiative.
The full SEP covers 210 pages (including appendices), but we’ve developed a summary version that contains the main points in an accessible format and clearly outlines our vision to be ‘World Class Worcestershire’.
Click here for an on-line copy of the summary document, or please contact us for a printed version.

Businesses wish SEP good bye and good luck

Peter Pawsey & Trish Haines at SEP 'send off' eventWorcestershire LEP's Strategic Economic Plan was sent off in style on 31 March as representatives from the County Council, District Councils and county wide businesses joined the LEP for a special event held at Worcester University's Arena.  

The 'send off’culminated in the SEP being ceremonially driven off towards Westminster in a Morgan sports car.
Attendees at the event were urged to use their spheres of influence to encourage widespread support of the SEP and its aspirations to be ‘World Class Worcestershire’.

Tour of Britain returns to Worcestershire

The LEP is delighted to confirm the return of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, The Tour of Britain, to the county this September as we host Stage Four of the race.
Stage Four, taking place on Wednesday 10 September, will start in the heart of Worcester City before travelling through Worcestershire via Great Malvern, Upton upon Severn, Pershore, Evesham and Broadway.    The riders will then continue over the county boundary into Gloucestershire before finishing the day in Bristol after 182 kilometres of racing.
Worcestershire LEP is grateful for the support of Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills District Council and Wychavon District Council in bringing the event to Worcestershire.
As well as the obvious benefits that the Tour will bring to our tourism industry, this is a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of the county and its businesses.  If you are interested in the sponsorship opportunities available, please contact

Major investment at Pershore College

Artist's impression of new Pershore College entranceWe were delighted to hear the announcement from Pershore College that it has been awarded funding from the Skills Funding Agency.
A £5.8m scheme will see the College transformed.  Plans include the addition of a contemporary new glass building that will house a new science and technology centre, a new collections house, new teaching rooms and project spaces and extensive research and development facilities.  Work is expected to start immediately with a projected completion date of September 2015.


Country's only e-skills accredited cyber centre launches in Malvern

Debbie Tunstall National Cyber Skills Training Centre ManagerThe UK’s first and only cyber centre accredited to e-skills UK, has opened. 

Based in Malvern, the National Cyber Skills Centre (NCSC) has been set up to deliver high-quality, assured training provision to businesses and organisations in order to protect themselves against cyber-attacks. Debbie Tunstall (pictured) has been appointed as the Centre Manager.

The Centre has been co-funded by Worcestershire County Council  and its extensive range of programmes, written and delivered by industry experts, is expected to meet regional and national needs in cyber security. 
For more information click here or call 01684 585111. 


#WorcestershireHour stages first Festival of Business

#WorcestershireHour and Stanbrook Abbey have announced a new Festival of Business, taking place at Stanbrook Abbey from 10 am to 4 pm on 31 May.
The Festival will provide an opportunity for businesses across Worcestershire to showcase and sell their products and services and to make new connections.  It will comprise both a business exhibition and retail market selling locally made produce and arts and crafts.
In order to attract small and micro businesses, the cost to exhibit at the Festival has been kept at a minimum.  Admission to the general public is free.  Further details are available by email or by telephoning Stuart Allen: 01905 384314.

Stop Press

Worcestershire LEP is delighted to learn and congratulates Bromsgrove MP, Sajid Javid, on his promotion to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.  This is great news for a county where the City of Worcester is planning to bid to be the UK's City of Culture in 2021. 


Upcoming Events

Redditch Engineering & Automotive Show
19 April
Redditch Town Hall
MAS Supply Chain Conference
30 April
RAF Cosford, Shropshire
Festival of Business

31 May
Stanbrook Abbey
Herefordshire and Worcestershire
Business Awards

10 July
Bank House Hotel & Golf Club, Bransford
The Tour of Britain - Stage 4
10 September
Starting from Worcester City Centre
WLEP Annual Conference
10 October
Chateau Impney, Droitwich Spa

WLEP Board Meetings:
2 June 
24 July
23 September
20 November

Top Ten place for Worcester in business environment poll 

A recent survey conducted by Experian awarded Worcester a top ten ranking as an environment for business success. 
Four measures were used in the assessment: number of start-ups, rate of insolvencies, level of financial health and turnover growth.  Worcester was the only town in the West Midlands to make the top ten. 
For the full results click here

Chamber Awards: details announced

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce has announced that their annual awards will this year  take place on Thursday 10 July at Bank House Hotel & Golf Club, Bransford.

There are 12 categories for entries this year including:
  • Most promising new business
  • Manufacturer of the year
  • Exporter of the year
  • Commitment for people development
  • The Sustainability Award
  • Most outstanding young person in a business
Full details can be found here.  Closing date for entries is 16 May.

Jobless figures fall

The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Worcestershire declined again last month to 7,932.   
Claimant count rate now stands at 2.2% of the 16-64 resident population, less than both the West Midlands (3.7%) and England (2.9%) figures.

The full survey is available here

Growth Vouchers initiative

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce/West Midlands Chamber of Commerce are one of three delivery partners selected by Government to manage a new project to test the value of professional advice to small businesses.
Subsidised business support in the form of ‘Growth Vouchers’ will be randomly allocated to businesses who express an interest in taking part in the research.  Those awarded a Growth Voucher will be eligible to receive a 50% subsidy towards the cost of obtaining advice, up to a value of £2,000.
To find out if you are eligible contact the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber team: 0845 641 1641


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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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