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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 39 - September 2014

Introduction from WLEP Chair -
Peter Pawsey

As I write this introduction, I feel there is a real growth in belief and in confidence that Worcestershire is 'on the up'. 

People turned out in their thousands to watch Stage Four of the Tour of Britain cycle race coming through the county and there was a really positive buzz around the place. 

We've also had news of a number of very important business investments coming to the county:
  • Arc Tableware has taken on the 250,000 sq ft former Polestar factory in Pinvin which will enable the firm to consolidate its operations on one site and to supply both UK and Irish markets.   
  • Worcester Bosch are constructing a new warehousing and stores facility at Apex Park, Warndon, increasing capacity from 10,200 sq m to 14,400 sq m.
  • VAX have created a new 231,420 sq ft storage and distribution warehouse at Stonebridge Cross  Business Park in Droitwich.
  • Amtek Global Technologies are investing huge sums in refurbishing the former Lawrence’s Waste Depot in Kidderminster to create a massive aluminium forging plant that ultimately could result in up to 600 new jobs in the automotive supply chain.
  • Land Securities are proposing a £150 million retail development at Worcester Woods off Newtown Road, Worcester that could create up to 1,000 new jobs. 
There are many other potential investors coming to the county, with whom we are currently in discussion.   Whilst we do have relatively low unemployment in Worcestershire, I believe that we have a real chance to start lifting the quality and choice of jobs available and with that our GVA (Gross Value Added) will rise significantly, which is great for our local economy.

We still have a way to go, but I'm convinced that the potential is here and the belief in ourselves is growing, so well done all of you.  Let us together drive the real potential of Worcestershire. 

Book now for 'World Class Worcestershire'

Over 200 delegates are already registered to attend this year's WLEP Annual Conference.

Themed 'World Class Worcestershire' (#WorldClassWorcs) and featuring many expert speakers and commentators on international trade and investment, including Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport - and MP for Bromsgrove - Sajid Javid, don’t forget to register for your FREE place.

Mary Rhodes (BBC Midlands Today) will host the conference and facilitate two topical 'on the couch' discussions.

The first will feature guests from industry, including Jaguar Land Rover, UKTI, Joy Global and Postcode Anywhere.

The second will include guests from world-class cultural and sporting organisations: British Wheelchair Basketball Association, West Midlands Safari Park, Worcestershire Repertory Company, Destination Worcestershire and Worcestershire County Cricket Club.

For a full programme and details on how to register, click here.


New Board and Business Board members announced

We were delighted to receive over 40 high quality responses to our call for new Board and Business Board members.  Following an extensive recruitment exercise, we can now announce details of our newly configured Boards.

New appointees to the WLEP Board are:
  • Nick Baldwin (Chairman, Sanctuary Housing Group, Chairman, Office of Nuclear Regulation)
  • Chris Walklett FCA (Partner, Bishop Fleming),  and
  • Dr Simon Murphy (Interim CEO, Worcester Community Trust, Chair, Sandwell Property Partnership and former MEP). 
We also welcome back Professor David Green (Vice Chancellor and CEO of the University of Worcester) who fills the newly allocated higher education position.  Stuart Laverick (Principal of the newly amalgamated Heart of Worcestershire College) occupies a similar role on behalf of the further education sector.
Councillor Margaret Sherrey, Leader of Bromsgrove District Council, takes over the local authority representative role on behalf of Worcestershire’s three northern district councils.
For full details of all 11 WLEP Board members, click here.
The LEP’s Business Board membership has also been reviewed and refreshed.  Further information can be found here
We are confident that the changes made will bring energy, skills and expertise as we enter a new phase of the LEP’s role and responsibilities.  We would like to thank those who applied and express our gratitude for the contributions made by all who have now stepped down or retired from Board or Business Board responsibilities. 

Tour of Britain comes to town

Photo Chris DobbsStage 4 of this year’s Tour of Britain came to Worcestershire on 10 September and what a fantastic occasion it was!
Huge crowds turned out in Worcester City and along the route to witness 117 riders from 20 world-class teams compete in the gruelling 184 Km Stage that took in some of the best countryside the county has to offer, before crossing into Gloucestershire and ending in Bristol four and a half hours later.
Tour organisers reported that the Start Point in Worcester was the best attended of this year’s Tour.  The number of spectators en-route, particularly at the sprint and climb points in Malvern and Wychavon, was said to rival those seen at the Tour de France.
I am so pleased and proud that Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership had the vision to bring the Race to the county and would like to thank our partners and sponsors - Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills District Council, Wychavon District Council, Destination Worcestershire, the Sanctuary Group and Heart of Worcestershire College.
Of course there is always  a cost in staging a major Tour, in this case covered by the  LEP and its partners and sponsors - but the county will easily recoup the money through increased tourism  – both on the day of the Race and in the future.  Conservative estimates reckon that we will generate at least seven times the amount we’ve collectively invested – bringing a minimum of £500,000 to the local economy, and probably a lot more.
Long after the dust has settled and our team here at the LEP has recovered from the excitement of shaking Bradley Wiggins’ and  Mark Cavendish's hands, we will continue to reap the benefits. 
Well done Worcestershire!

Cyber news

Worcester based Insurance Brokers, Sutcliffe & Co, told us the good news that they are the first UK insurance business to achieve the Government’s Cyber Essentials certification.
The Cyber Essentials scheme was launched by Government in June 2014 with the objective of ensuring businesses take steps towards reducing their risk of data loss and cyber crime.
The firm completed an online application form via IASME.  As we reported in a previous edition of this bulletin, the IASME Consortium, based in Malvern, is one of only two companies that can so far deliver this accreditation.
Further good news came from HP Enterprise Services, who announced that they were putting in place new measures to help SMEs gain security accreditation more easily.  More than 600 SMEs in the public sector supply chain will be eligible for a new, more affordable IASME (Information Assurance for SMEs) security standard, which will ultimately help them to protect their IT systems from cyber threats.  The IASME standard will include certification against the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme and automatic cyber liability insurance for those with a turnover of less than £20 million.
For more information on Cyber Essentials or to find out how to apply for certification, click here.

Festival of Innovation

 This year’s festival will take place in Malvern from 1-4 October and each day will focus on a different theme.
1 October – advanced engineering and manufacturing. Contributions from Prof John Perkins CBE, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Government’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills and from JEMI UK, Malvern Instruments, Mazak, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Santander.

2 October – cyber security innovation showcase.  Hear from Lockheed Martin and the Civil Aviation Authority, and learn about cyber security issues with medical devices, big data, and the impact on the citizen plus updates on the cutting edge InnovateUK Severn Valley Cyber Launchpad projects.
3 October -  the business of innovating. A day of business assist, inspiring talks, and elevator pitches to help you grow your own enterprise. Hear the Plusnet story from founder Lee Strafford, the latest on the Innovation Landscape from Prof Fiona Lettice, and insights into Open Innovation
4 October – family day. A family show featuring Mark Champkins, Inventor in Residence at the Science Museum and Quentin Cooper, as heard on BBC Radio's Material World.
For further information click here.

Free IPO workshop

The Intellectual Property Office is running a free half day workshop in Birmingham central library on 25 September. Open to all those giving business advice, or to businesses themselves, you can find out more and book a place here.

Upcoming Events

Proof of Concept Info Breakfast
25 September
St Andrew's Hotel, Droitwich 

Festival of Innovation
1-4 October

WLEP Annual Conference
10 October
Chateau Impney, Droitwich Spa
Rewyre Autumn Conference
13 October
Spring Grove House, Bewdley
The Skills Show
13-15 November
Birmingham NEC
WLEP Board Meetings
23 September (Away Day)
20 November
22 January
2 April
23 July
24 September
19 November
WLEP Business Board Meetings
3 December
14 January
25 February
22 April
17 June
9 September
14 October

More good news on jobless figures

Latest figures show that the number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) in the county continues to fall and now stands at 5,941 – down 133 on last month and its lowest level since July 2008.  There was encouraging news too on the number claiming JSA for more than a year – falling by 55 claimants in the past month.
Claimant count is 1.7% of the 16-64 resident population, better than the West Midlands (3.0%) and overall English (2.3%) figure.

Further information is available here.

Welcome news on inward investment

We were pleased to hear the news from the north of the county that Amtek Auto Group will be constructing a new £5 million factory at the site previously occupied by Lawrence Recycling in Kidderminster, initially creating 100-150 new jobs with the prospect of many hundreds more in the future.

The Worcestershire Growth Deal included funding for the nearby Hoobrook Link Road and as development of this vital artery continues, we are confident that even more investment will be attracted to the South Kidderminster Enterprise Park.
There was further good news from Wychavon with the announcement that the former Polestar factory in Pinvin, which had been empty for over a year, will become  the new home for Arc Tableware International UK Limited, part of a French based international empire. This will enable the firm to consolidate its operations on one site, initially creating an additional 14 jobs and the prospect of substantial growth in the future.   
Well done to all concerned in both these inward investment successes. 

Social Economic Inclusion update

As previously reported, a third sector-led consortium comprising the Worcestershire voluntary and community sector, businesses and public sector interests has been established to shape plans for the investment of European Social Funds.
The Consortium’s second newsletter is now available and contains details of a number of consultation events being held across the county. 
For further information or to register your interest in attending one of these events, click here.

Quarterly Economic Survey – last chance to contribute

The BCC's Quarterly Economic Survey is a highly respected snapshot of economic conditions for business. It is taken seriously by central government and reported widely in the media.

The closing date for responses for Q3 is 17 September 2014.  To contribute, click here.

Strictly Worcestershire
DVD now available

As the new season of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing airs on our screens, we are reminded of Worcestershire’s own stunning show earlier in the year with the news that a commemorative DVD is now available. 

Priced at £5 and with proceeds going to breast cancer charities, please do take the opportunity to order your copy from Gerard Smith.


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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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