Find out what's happening at Worcestershire LEP in this month's ezine.

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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 43 - January 2015

Introduction by LEP Executive Chair - Peter Pawsey

With this being our first newsletter of 2015, may I on behalf of all my colleagues take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

This week I announced that I will be stepping down from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. During the four years in which I have held the voluntary role as Executive Chair, there have been some spectacular successes across the whole of Worcestershire, particularly in the creation of apprenticeship places and new jobs in general. The production of a 10 year Strategic Economic Plan for Worcestershire this time last year was another key milestone. 

Of course, the Worcestershire LEP cannot claim credit alone for the significant turn around across the county, but it has certainly been the catalyst for bringing partners across the public, private, education and voluntary sectors together in a concerted programme of initiatives and achievement. I am proud of our record in helping Worcestershire towards reaching its full potential and the strong economic growth that we have seen building since the Worcestershire LEP started functioning in 2011. Equally, I am confident that further successes will be seen under new leadership and with the executive team led by Gary Woodman.  I will be watching with more than a little interest!

As we look forward to the year ahead, the LEP team are very much focused on the delivery of the Government’s Growth Deal which includes the large strategic infrastructure projects that will benefit the long term economy of the County. Examples include the establishment of the Worcester Group Training facility to increase the supply and skills of engineers, work on further sections of the Worcester Southern Link Road and the completion of the Hoobrook Link Road which further opens up access for the South Kidderminster Enterprise Park. We have also been working with the district and county councils to secure additional funding from the second round of the Growth Deal which the Chancellor announced during December’s Autumn Statement.

We expect to meet with more businesses in the year ahead, the first opportunity being on 6 February 2015 for the Worcestershire Devolution Business Debate which, hosted by Mary Rhodes, will discuss the ever-topical impacts of devolution and its potential impact on skills, transport and business support. Further details are contained in this newsletter and I would urge you to register for your place at the earliest opportunity.

The Worcestershire LEP, alongside Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council, are also hosting a workshop for interested parties to fully understand the implications of a potential City of Culture bid by Worcester for 2021. The workshop is being held on 12 February and again, recognising the impact of sport and culture on our local economy, we hope to see businesses there alongside the numerous arts, sporting and cultural organisations. Another date for your diary of course is the Worcestershire LEP Annual Conference and so please do ensure you save the date of 23 October 2015.

I do believe that 2015 will be another great year for World Class Worcestershire.
#WorcsDevoDebate to bring together private sector to get a united business voice on regional devolution

Friday 6 February 2015 – book your place today

Regional Devolution has become the current political buzzword and one of the key policy battlegrounds that will be a major contributory factor in the upcoming general election.

The Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Federation of Small Business and Institute of Directors have organised the Worcestershire Devolution Debate, a free event aiming to get the local business community talking about our priorities and what devolution could mean to your business and how this could impact skills, transport and  business support.

Held at the Artrix, Bromsgrove, the debate will be held from 7.30 – 10.30 on Friday 6 February, with complimentary refreshments and an opening networking period to kick start proceedings.

The debate will be chaired by Mary Rhodes of BBC Midlands Today, presenter of the devolution debate on BBC1 in the West Midlands, and a panel made up of:
  • Gary Woodman – Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Executive Director
  • Mike Ashton – Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, Chief Executive
  • Bob Brown – Instutite of Directors, Branch Chairman for Herefordshire & Worcestershire
  • Judi Brazkiewicz – Federation of Small Business, Worcestershire Chairman
  • Stuart Laverick –  Principal, Heart of Worcestershire College.
We will also be joined by a number of political representatives on the day who will be able to present the current situation regarding devolution from the perspective of government.

This event is unmissable for local businesses who want the mysteries of devolution unravelled and to have their say on what our priorities should be moving forward.

To book your place at the event contact the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership on 01905 346 180 or email You can also join the debate on Twitter #WorcsDevoDebate.


Workshop invitation for City of Culture – book your place by 29 January 2015
A possible bid for the 2021 City of Culture has been considered for some time in and around the City of Worcester.  Any bid would need to involve many organisations and all interested parties including businesses are, therefore, being invited to a one-off workshop on:

12 February 2015
9am – 1pm
Worcester Racecourse, Pitchcroft, Worcester, WR1 3EJ.

The workshop will provide further details and discussion on:

  • Who would need to be involved
  • What a local bid could look like
  • The process
  • Resource and financial costs and benefits
  • The feasibility of a potential bid.

This is also an opportunity to hear directly from representatives from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and those who have been involved in submitting past bids to understand what has previously made a bid successful.

All of the feedback received will be considered and taken forward to define what the next steps should be.

It is hoped that representatives from as many interested parties as possible will attend including arts, cultural and sporting organisations, businesses and other key stakeholders. Please book a place at the earliest opportunity by emailing by 29 January 2015.

For more information visit our website.


Help shape Worcestershire's future workforce at the County's first Skills Show
The Worcestershire Skills Show, the first of its kind in the County, will help to develop our future workforce. The show provides hands-on experiences, workshops and talks that will inspire young people to explore career opportunities, skills, qualifications and apprenticeships.
The Skills Show will highlight Worcestershire's key growth sectors and provide thousands of our young people with a clearer idea of the employment opportunities and the job roles of the future.
Your organisation can be part of this unique event in order to showcase the opportunities and careers within your industry. The event is being held on:
Wednesday 18 March 2015
9-30am until 7-00pm.
Sixways Stadium, Worcester.
To enquire about the event or a book a stand, please contact Matt Tope or Fran Wheatley at or call 01905 765 581.
Could you be more connected with Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership in 2015?
There are many ways to be kept updated and engage with the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

At the 2014 Annual Conference, businesses told us that the best ways to keep in touch were via e-communications, such as this newsletter, and face-to-face;

  • This e-newsletter - thank you for subscribing – please pass this on to any colleagues you feel would benefit and preferably send us their email address so that we can include them directly in future. A direct link to subscribe is available on the front page of our website at which is also regularly updated
  • Twitter – do you follow and Tweet @worcsLEP ? Also, by using #WorldClassWorcs when Tweeting about your business successes within Worcestershire, you can attract retweets for your account and also join the campaign to raise the profile of the County as a business location
  • LinkedIn – are you a member of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership group? You can join the LEP group by visiting our group page.
This year, we will once again be looking for other ways to meet with businesses face-to-face, such as the Annual Conference which will be held on 23 October 2015, and workshops such as the Worcestershire Devolution Debate (details within this newsletter).

If you have any ideas on the above, what you would like to see in this newsletter, or on social media or face-to-face, please let us know via

Final Reminder for Redundant Building Grant
Worcestershire businesses are being urged to take advantage of the Redundant Building Grant as the deadline is fast approaching.

Applications for the Government-funded scheme, funded by the Regional Growth Fund, will end at the end of this month (January 2015).

Many businesses have already benefitted from the grants which are available from £3,000 to a maximum of £100,000 as the scheme provides up to 45% of the total eligible costs of the project.

To be eligible for a grant, buildings must either be unused for at least 3 months or unusable in their current state. The building must be used for business purposes once the works are complete and any application should result in a minimum of two newly created safeguarded jobs within two years of completion.

The full criteria is available on the website, however, businesses should be aware that the grants are not available for conversion to or refurbishment of residential property, or buildings that will be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes. Building projects also need to be completed by June 2015.

For further information on the scheme, how to apply and eligibility criteria, visit the website.

Apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for strategic business advice
Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce is encouraging businesses to take advantage of the Government Growth Vouchers Scheme.

The programme, the largest government research project of its kind, is designed to help small businesses receive strategic business advice on finance and cash flow, recruiting and developing staff, improving leadership and management skills, marketing, attracting and keeping customers and making the most of digital technology.

Businesses can also apply to receive a voucher of up to £2,000 which can be used to pay for up to half of the cost of the advice.

The Growth Vouchers Scheme is only open to businesses based in England that have been running for at least six months and with fewer than 250 employees.

Further information is available on the government website.

Free Digital Essentials workshops – limited time only
Digital Essentials is a portfolio of workshops and mentoring sessions delivering digital skills training to Worcestershire businesses.

For a limited time, the National Cyber Skills Centre is offering free workshops, normally priced at £85. The workshops, supported by Worcestershire.Business.Central and Worcestershire LEP, provide businesses with a better understanding of cyber security, digital branding and broader digital skills such as social media strategies.

The free workshops are running from January 2015 until March 2015 at various locations across Worcestershire. There are only 240 places available, so businesses are being encouraged to take up this opportunity quickly.
Businesses interested in booking their place on the Digital Essentials workshop can find out how to claim their free workshop here.

For further information, visit the Cyber Skills Centre website.

In addition to this course, there are many other cyber skill courses available, some of which are paid for courses:
  • Growing Cyber - a part funded European Regional Development Fund project based in Worcestershire, designed to help businesses to better understand cyber risks and help to contribute to making Worcestershire the most secure online business place
  • Foundation Degree in Cyber Security - providing students with a broad understanding of the importance of cyber security, in particular how it affects businesses worldwide.  The course also provides students with knowledge of key legislation and standards in the industry, highlighting key social and ethical issues encountered when securing access to data
  • Cyber Skills for the Future Generations - a Tech Industry Gold Programme which covers technical, business and interpersonal areas ensuring that apprentices have an appropriate set of skills to operate in today’s cyber careers.
For more information on these courses, you can view information from the National Cyber Skills Centre.

Apprenticeship survey reminder
Worcestershire businesses are being reminded to complete a short apprenticeship survey before the end of January.

There are two surveys available and only take a few minutes to complete:
  • Apprenticeship survey for businesses who currently employ apprentices – so that a greater understanding of your experiences can be gained
  • Apprenticeship survey for businesses who do not currently employ apprentices, or have previously employed apprentices - to understand what could help you to offer placements.
Through the hard work of young people, schools and businesses, the number of people actively participating in an apprenticeship programme now stands at over 10,000, more than four times the number in 2011. The surveys are designed to understand the experiences of employers and what they look for when hiring apprentices, as well as any support that could be provided to help further increase the excellent Worcestershire apprenticeship opportunities available.

The surveys can be completed on our website and many thanks to all businesses for taking the time to complete the surveys.
Upcoming Events

WLEP Board Meetings
22 January 2015
2 April 2015
21 May 2015
23 July 2015
24 September 2015
19 November 2015
WLEP Business Board Meetings
25 February 2015
22 April 2015
17 June 2015
9 September 2015
14 October 2015
Finditinworcestershire Breakfast & Networking Meeting: 10 Essential Marketing Tips in 10 minutes
20 January 2015, 6:45am – 9:30am at Sixways Stadium, Worcester

Regional Investment & Export Prospects: Central & Eastern Europe
29 January 2015, 8:30am - 12:00am at Sixways Stadium, Worcester

North Worcestershire Business Breakfast Club
4 February 2015, 7:45am – 9:30am at Crown & Sandys, Ombersley.

The Worcestershire Devolution Business Debate
6 February 2015, 7:30am - 10:30am at Artix, Bromsgrove

Workshop invitation for City of Culture
12 February 2015, 9am - 1pm, Worcester Racecourse, Worcester

For other events, visit the events page on the Worcestershire LEP’s Website

West Midlands Business Masters Awards 2015 launched is launching the West Midlands Business Masters Awards 2015 to recognise excellence, entrepreneurship, growth and enterprise amongst the region's corporate community.

The awards, which will be held at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham on the evening of Thursday June 11, will build on the success of last year’s event and the winners will be announced at a high-end black-tie dinner.
There are 11 awards again this year, including popular categories covering manufacturing and exporting - both split into two to cater for larger businesses and SMEs.

There are also awards for successful performance by listed companies and for businesses running apprenticeship schemes.

The Pride category, which rewards efforts in the CSR field, is always popular as is the Ambassador category which rewards a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the business sector and regional economy over the last year.

All Masters entries - and you can nominate your own business or someone else’s - will go in front of a panel of judges and the shortlists will be made public soon after the announcement of the winners on the night.

Click here to enter the Masters. Further details are available on the Business Desk website.

Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2015 – save the date: 12 November 2015
Following the success of the first ever Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards, they will once again be held this year on 12 November 2015.

The 2014 awards ceremony, which has been largely publicised, saw over 300 employers and individuals gather to celebrate the shortlist and see the winners announced by BBC's Apprentice star, Nick Hewer.

For more information on last year's Apprenticeship Awards, including the 2014 winners, visit our website.

Businesses interested in offering apprenticeship places, can visit Worcestershire.Business.Central's website and further details will be provided on how to enter this year's awards.

Funding boosts multi-room HDTV pioneers
A Malvern-based technology company has received funding from Central Finance, enabling them to launch their new product in the UK and export to USA, Australia and Canada.

HD Connectivity is the UK’s only developer of this multi-room, long distance video distribution. The business manufactures roughly 2500 single units a year and, with the help of Central Finance, have seen a 250% increase in export sales.

Steve Harris, Worcestershire LEP business growth sub group member and Director at Central Finance, adds: “Supporting businesses to invest and grow their services through funding is always rewarding, and it’s something we do daily at Central Finance, but this project is significantly interesting. Bringing back manufacturing to the UK from China and witnessing the birth of advanced technology in the Malvern Hills and not Silicone Valley in the USA is quite exciting."

Central Finance has raised more than £30m in grants and funding for over 600 businesses, leading to job creation and further spend in research.

For further information on the achievement, visit the Business Desk website

Regional Investment & Export Prospects: Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)

29 January 2015
Time: 08:30-12:00 (1:1s and informal networking from 10:30 - 12:00)
Worcester Rugby Club, Sixways Stadium, Warriors Way, Worcester WR3 8ZE.

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is up made of 9 markets and over 100 million consumers located in central and eastern Europe. The CEE markets are just 2 to 3 hours flying time from the UK. The majority are EU regulated and are lower risk than markets further from the UK. UK exports to Emerging Europe were worth over £15 billion in 2012. This includes services exports valued at £4.1 billion.

The CEE markets are at differing stages of development, but all offer long-term growth prospects for UK companies. The markets are:

Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia

Opportunities for 1:1s with the Experts
Learn more about your company’s potential from the country experts speaking at our joint UK Trade & Investment/West Midlands Chambers of Commerce Prospects event. 

You can book a 1:1 meeting (15 minutes) with any of the panel members. To do so call 07703 735 408 or email

Admission is complimentary but delegates must register in advance:

For further details:
If you have any queries, visit the website or contact


Agriculture & Food Security Trade Mission to Washington DC 2015
UKTi will be hosting its annual trade mission at the World Bank in Washington, from 2-5 March 2015.

The UKTi trade missions are designed to help businesses to network and gain the knowledge and customers to expand businesses internationally, while businesses can also identify the best way to enter international markets quickly and efficiently.

Washington DC will host its annual trade mission to the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and Millennium Challenge Corporation with potential visits to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Center for Strategic International Studies. The mission will include a networking reception with 100+ attendees from larger contractors, aid agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations as well as a dinner at the Deputy Ambassador’s residence, which will include thought leaders from the agriculture and food security space.

Monday 2nd March 2015: World Bank
Tuesday 3rd March 2015: Inter-American Development Bank
Wednesday 4th March 2015: USAID/ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)
Thursday 5th March 2015: Other Agencies.

This Mission will benefit those companies that are interested in developing relationships with US companies and contractors. Individual consultants with exceptional experience will also be considered:

- Food Security Consulting Firms
- Agriculture Consulting Firms
- Programme/Project Management Firms
- Department for International Development/United Nations Consultants

For more information click here and to complete an Expression of Interest form click here

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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership
Unit 50-51
Malvern Hills Science Park, Geraldine Road
Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 3SZ
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