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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 30 - December 2013

LEP Chair, Peter Pawsey

As we approach Christmas it is a time for reflection on the past year and for review of the challenges ahead in 2014.  However, this December is far from peaceful in the 'run down' to the Festive Season.

Within the Worcestershire LEP, and indeed in all 39 LEPs alike, it is a particularly pressured period right now.
Having recently received (generally very positive) feedback on our draft European Structural & Investment Funds submission (ESIF), we are now working to a deadline of 19 December for the first draft of the WLEP Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for Worcestershire.  This will form the framework for Government investment into the county between 2015 and 2021.  Meanwhile, we also have to complete the final version of the ESIF by 31 January, so there will be no peace for the 'wicked', better known as the LEP executive team, when they return in the new year.
As a key part of both exercises, the team has consulted with many and varied 'partners' and continues to do so.  Of particular note in respect of recent meetings have been our Worcestershire MPs, with whom Gary and I met in Westminster last week and who have been consistently very supportive of our efforts.  We also met with our Government 'champion',  Emma Ward, at BIS headquarters and had a most helpful and supportive meeting with her.  The sad news for us, but great news for Emma, is that we will be losing her personal support in March when she is expecting her first child, so we extend to her our congratulations and best wishes for the next few months.
Finally, may I on behalf of us all in the Worcestershire LEP, wish you a very merry and peaceful  Christmas and a happy, prosperous and exciting new year.

Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) update

As mentioned by the Chair, Worcestershire LEP is getting ready to submit the first draft of its SEP to Government in time for the 19 December deadline.

The document will set the strategic direction for Worcestershire LEP for the years 2014-21 and will outline proposals for allocating the county’s share of both the Government’s ‘Single Pot’ and EU Funds. 

A sum of €68 million (£57) million has notionally been allocated to the county from European Funds.  Single pot funding amounts to £2 billion per annum, divided between the 39 English LEPs.

Following Government feedback on the draft plan in early 2014, the LEP will submit its final SEP in March and a ‘Growth Deal’ will be confirmed in July 2014.


Worcestershire LEP wins Social Enterprise Award

We were delighted to be awarded the ‘Aspire Award’  by Social Enterprise West Midlands.
The Award was presented at the Social Enterprise Awards ceremony held in Birmingham on 13 November.  Our Business Board member Margaret Gray (who is also Head of the Midwest Rural Enterprise CIC) picked up the trophy on our behalf, beating off competition from Birmingham Social Enterprise Zone, School for Social Entrepreneurs and the Black Country LEP.
The Aspire Award recognises individuals or organisations who are ‘social enterprise best practice exemplars’.  Worcestershire LEP was credited for having taken a strong lead in brokering joint working between social enterprises and networks and for developing a coordinated and collaborative way forwards.
Worcestershire LEP has recognised the importance of social enterprises right from its formation by including four representatives from the Third Sector on its Business Board.

Duke of Gloucester meets Worcestershire LEP

We recently had the honour of meeting with His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester, to provide a briefing on the efforts the LEP is making to increase Worcestershire’s appeal as an inward investment destination and to create more and better employment opportunities across the county. 

Hosted by the University of Worcester’s National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, the Duke was introduced by the Chair to the Executive Director, Gary Woodman, and to the heads of the LEP’s four strategic Working Groups - Profile and Promotion, Kate Moss; Access to finance, Roy Irish: Employment and Skills,
Carl Arntzen: and Planning, Development and Infrastructure, Jacqui Bayliss.  Each provided an update on their various areas of interest.  

Were you with the
‘In-novation crowd’?

 We were pleased to support the Festival of Innovation that took place in Malvern last month.
The Festival attracted some great media coverage, including on BBC Midlands Today. It was particularly heartening to hear Malvern being referred to as the West Midlands’ ‘Cyber Valley’ by reporter Cath Mackie.
Around 600 people attended the Festival over the two days, which also included the national launch of The Geovation Challenge.
The event included thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating presentations from many innovative companies – including the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the Bloodhound Supersonic Car team and the Lotus F1Team.  Also featured were keynote speeches from the Institute of Physics, Advanced Technology Institute and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
The Festival is a great opportunity to hear the latest news and developments from some of the country’s best innovators. It also provides the chance to network with some of Britain’s top innovative brains.
To be sure not to miss out on next year’s Festival, or if you are interested in sponsoring, exhibiting or speaking at next year's event, click here.  

Graduate to Business in Worcestershire

Worcestershire County Council, in partnership with the University of Worcester, has launched a new EU funded grant scheme that will help SMEs to employ graduates.
The scheme will cover 50% of the costs of hosting a graduate on a three month internship, or cover 50% of the costs of hosting a graduate on a one year placement (up to maximum of £10,000).
To qualify, your business must be situated in and trading from Worcestershire, employ fewer than 250 employees and have a turnover of less than the equivalent of €50 million or a balance sheet of less than €43 million.
For more information and an application form please click here or call 0300 123 14 40.



Upcoming Events

WLEP Board Meetings 2014:
23 January 
20 March 
22 May 
24 July 
23 September 
20 November 

WLEP Christmas/
New Year opening

Please note that the Worcestershire LEP Office will be closed from 4.30 pm on Friday 21 December until 9.00 am on Wednesday 2 January.  

Outlook is bright for Worcestershire

The latest economic indicators show a continued slide in the number of Job Seekers’ allowance claimants in the county.  The claimant count is now at its lowest level since November 2008.
Since a peak in August 2009, the claimant count has fallen by 5,205 to the latest figure of 8,064, although still 2,913 above its pre-recession low in December 2007.
Indicators are also good for those in the county aged 18-24.  The number of claimants in this age group fell by 160 or 5.2% of the population (compared to 7.0% in the West Midlands and 5.4% for England as a whole).
Full details can be found here.

Worcestershire entrepreneurs in the ‘Dragon’s Den’ 

Worcestershire LEP recently supported a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event, hosted by the University of Worcester as part of its ‘Worcestershire Futures Week’.
Also supported by The Worcestershire Ambassadors, four innovative Worcestershire businesses were invited to pitch their investment to an audience of over 30 potential investors.
The event was the latest in a series of events being organised by Worcestershire LEP’s Access to Finance Strategy Group.
For further information on future events, please contact the LEP office.

Apprenticeship Data

We were delighted to hear the latest news from the Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Shropshire Training Provider Association that Worcestershire has seen a 1% growth in the number of 16-18 years’ Apprenticeships in the last 12 months.
Although this sounds like a modest figure, it compares to a reduction of 18.7% in the West Midlands region as a whole and a 12% drop nationally.
The total number of Apprenticeships participating over the year is 10,158, an increase of nearly 1,000 on the previous year.  Especially pleasing are the 141 starts on Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4 +). 

Bring your redundant building back to life!

The Marches and Worcestershire Redundant Building Grant is now ‘live’, with a total of £1.5 million available across the counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.
Grants are available for up to £50,000 or 30% of eligible project costs.  Only buildings that will be used for business purposes are eligible.  For a building to qualify, it must either be completely unused or unusable in its current state for the purposes for which it is now needed.
For further information, please contact the LEP office. 

Apprentice Team 2014

The search for the apprentice team of 2014 has officially opened.
Now in its third year, the Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge tests apprentices on their team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities in a series of challenges including awareness raising and community projects.
Deadline for entries is Friday 13th December,
For more information click here

Help needed with survey

Worcestershire County Council needs your help with a county-wide survey it is conducting into  the county’s economy.

To share your views, click here.

Copyright © 2013
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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