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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no 28, October 2013

Peter Pawsey

This bulletin reaches you at a time of great intensity within all LEP organisations and in particular within the executive team in Worcestershire LEP.  Why?  Well, we are in the final throes of completing and submitting our draft document to secure the European Investment Funds that have notionally been awarded to us for the years 2014 to 2020.  A sum of about £58m has been allocated but we have to justify that allocation with a comprehensive document that sets out our plans and the needs across Worcestershire by sector and geography.  Following submission of the draft document to Government by October 7th  there will be a period of iteration before the final document is accepted and funding confirmed.
You might think that would be the end of our period of pressure, but no.  The even bigger issue is our negotiation with Government for a maximum share of the ‘single pot’ Growth Fund which results from the Lord Heseltine review ‘No Stone Unturned’ and which will be the basis and majority of all government funding into Worcestershire during the period 2015 to 2020.  You may therefore appreciate that whilst the latter document is not required until next spring, the basic plans for Worcestershire investment have needed to be thought through for the EU Investment bid right now.
We have made great progress and have looked at different options for growth in the county.  Our ambition is to at least bring the economic level of Worcestershire up to, or better than, that of such comparable counties as Warwickshire, Oxfordshire or Gloucestershire.  That however will require considerable growth in jobs and businesses across the county and with it the development of some significant employment and residential areas.  Any lesser ambition will surely lead to reductions in economic performance and climate in Worcestershire and it will certainly fail to secure anything other than minimal Government investment into the county during the next five years.
That is the reason why it is a period of great importance and intensity not only within the LEP but also with our many existing and potential partners.  But that is why we are here!
Then there is the little matter of organising our Annual Conference being held on Thursday October 10th from 8 am until 1 pm at Sixways, just in case you have not yet registered.  Seriously I do hope you are coming.  We are approaching our capacity of 300 so register soon if not already at  

Annual conference: registration now open

Bookings are flooding in for the WLEP Annual Conference, taking place at Worcester Sixways on the morning of 10 October.

This year the Conference is entitled ‘Driving Worcestershire Forward’ (#drivingworcs), and we are delighted to have secured TV presenter and champion rally driver, Penny Mallory, to chair proceedings. 

The Conference promises to be a dynamic and interactive occasion with plenty of opportunity for audience involvement and feedback.  Speakers from Brintons and Holywell Malvern Spring Water have confirmed their attendance, and we have presentations from Ben Humphrey (Chairman of the Worcester Festival) and Karl George (Director at the Governance Forum Ltd).

The programme will include updates from the LEP on  progress to date and an outline of our future plans.

We are delighted to announce a key note speech from Emma Ward, Executive Director at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.  Emma is Worcestershire LEP's representative in Westminster and we are sure she will provide an enlightening and interesting presentation.

If you haven’t yet booked your place, you can register here, where you’ll also find full details of the conference programme and speakers.

Results of Manufacturing survey published

A major survey commissioned by the LEP found that manufacturing businesses in Worcestershire were optimistic about the future.  One third of those questioned expected to increase their staff levels in the next 12 months.

However, some concerns were expressed regarding the availability of skilled workers, particularly with regard to ‘hard to fill’ roles in precision engineering and machine operation.

Worcestershire has a high proportion of small businesses with 90% employing less than 50 people.  Metals and fabricated products make up the largest proportion, with 29% working in this field.

The county employs more than the national average number of apprentices, with 21% of manufacturing businesses engaged compared with 18% nationally.

The survey was conducted by Worcestershire Research in June of this year. Telephone interviews with nearly 500 Worcestershire manufacturers formed the basis of the research, together with a number of follow up in-depth discussions.  The aim was to gain greater understanding of the sector and to identify any major barriers to growth.

The results will provide a useful evidence base to inform the LEP’s future work and strategic objectives. 

The full survey report is available to download here

Join the in-novation crowd!

The LEP is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the Festival of Innovation, taking place at the Malvern Theatre from 7-9 November.

As well as an exhibition showcasing many of the region’s leading innovators, the Festival will offer a number of symposia themed around four strands: cyber security; technology for tourism; engineering & manufacturing; sustainability & environment. 

There are special events targeted at ‘next generation innovators’ – children in school years 6-9 and their families.  A fringe event at Malvern College is already over-subscribed, but tickets are available for ‘ Innovative Stuff! The Materials Revolution’, a family show featuring Dr Jonathan Hare and Professor Mark Miodownik.

Apart from the family show, entrance to the Festival is free of charge. However, places are limited at the symposia and you will need to register.   

Further information and full programme details can be found here.   

Regional Growth Fund:
Round 5 now open for bids

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, recently announced that Round 5 of the Regional Growth Fund will be open for bids from 11 October.

Round 5 will be focused entirely on private enterprise proposals and will be looking to support high quality projects that can generate significant private sector investment and create sustainable jobs.  A minimum bid of £1 million is required.

Applications must be submitted by 9 December.

Further details are available 



Upcoming Events

National LEP Network Summit
9 October, British Library London

WLEP Annual Conference
10 October, Worcester Sixways Stadium

WM LEP Chairs’ Meeting
30 October, Birmingham

Festival of Innovation
7-9 November, Malvern

LEP Board Meeting
28 November, Worcester

Service Personnel:
Living and Working in Worcestershire

5 December, Worcester

Connecting the Asian
professional business community

A networking group specifically for Asian business professionals in Worcestershire met for the first time in September.

Around 30 people attended the inaugural meeting organised by solicitors Harrison Clark Rickerbys and Haines Watts.  The group is aimed at providing an on-going source of informal support for the local Asian business community and a valuable networking and business forum.

More information is available by emailing:

(Pictured: John Elliott (Haines Watts) and Caroline Irvine (far R), Partner at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, with event organisers (L to R) Dina Parmar and Najma Qamar

Good news on Worcestershire's jobless

We were pleased to read the latest figures in the Worcestershire County Economic Survey (September) that showed a continued downward trend in the number of Job Seekers' Allowance claimants in the county.

The claimant count (at 2.6 %) is now at its lowest level since December 2008, below the national average of 3.3%.  However, the rate for the West Midlands as a whole remains stubbornly above the national average at 4.3% and there are pockets particularly within the north of our own county that are more badly affected than others.

Full details of this month’s report can be found here.   

The perfect date for Regulators  

An innovative networking event for Regulators was recently held in Pershore.
Nine regulatory bodies, including Worcestershire Regulatory Services, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, ACAS and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service, were invited to take part in ‘speed dating’ style sessions.
Tables were manned by each of the regulatory bodies where five minute presentations were delivered.  Five minutes were then made available for any questions to be raised.
The objective was to ensure that each regulator was aware of other regulators’ work and how their remits overlapped.  This will enable regulators to work more effectively together with the aim of reducing the burden on business.
Over 40 people attended and hailed the event a great success.  More events are planned which will include the involvement of local business.
For further information, please contact:

Calling all ex-Service personnel:
Worcestershire is the place to be!

A special event is being held to encourage ex-Service personnel to settle in the county.

The Army 143 West Midlands Brigade, Worcestershire AFCC Partnership and Worcestershire LEP are holding a ‘Living and Working in Worcestershire Fair’ on Thursday 5 December.

Targeted at those in the process of leaving the three Services, the Fair will cover all aspects of the transition to civilian life: employment, education and schooling, health, housing and welfare.

Worcestershire LEP is encouraging businesses to consider employing ex-service personnel, many of whom will be offering much sought after skills and competencies.

For further information phone Major Nigel Hill on 01743 262686 or email

Social enterprises invited to "Meet Your Buyer"

Worcestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council are hosting a special "Meet Your Buyers" event on Tuesday 8 October at the Three Counties Showground, to encourage social enterprises to do business with them.

For more information, click here.   

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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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Malvern Hills Science Park, Geraldine Road
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