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Worcestershire LEP Newsletter

Bulletin no: 32 - February 2014

INTRODUCTION from the LEP Chair,
Peter Pawsey 

At the time of writing Gary Woodman and I are preparing for a key meeting with Greg Clark MP, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office with specific responsibilities for LEPs, Cities and Enterprise Zones.  At the meeting being held at BIS offices in Birmingham on Wednesday 5 February, we will be joined by LEP Board Member, Carl Arntzen, MD of Worcester Bosch, and by Paul Middleborough, Leader of Wychavon District Council.
The meeting is part of the process of preparing our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for Worcestershire and the start of the negotiation process that will follow as we seek to maximise Government funding and support into our county for the 2015 – 2021 period.  We shall be taking every opportunity to press home our ‘asks’ of Government and to emphasise to the Minister and his team both the assets and the untapped potential that exist in Worcestershire.
Much preparation has been carried out over recent months by the LEP executive team, the local authorities and many other partners and I wish to thank them all for their contributions to date and for their ongoing commitment.  We have one further major consultation process to complete before submitting the final SEP at the end of March.  On Friday 14 March we are holding a business leaders breakfast event at Worcester Bosch to ensure we have fully incorporated and emphasised the business voice into our strategic plan.  We will be working hard to lobby for maximum attendance and input at that event so if that is relevant to you, please ensure the date is in your diary even before you receive a full invitation.  We look forward to and need your contribution to the debate.


Strategy submitted to Government

At the end of last month we, in common with England’s other 38 LEPs, submitted our final European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF) Strategy to Government.
This comprehensive document is of critical importance for securing at least the nominal amount of €68.1 million (£56 million) allocated to Worcestershire from European Funds for the period 2014-20.
In compiling the ESIF, we have undertaken an extensive engagement process that has involved working with partners in Worcestershire County Council and the six District Councils, the LEP Board and its Business Board, various thematic sub-groups and a Task and Finish Group.  We have also collaborated with neighbouring and other LEPs and consulted with many social enterprise groups.
The Strategy addresses the fact that for many years Worcestershire could be argued to have punched below its weight in terms of Gross Value Added performance and productivity and has failed to promote itself proactively.  Our ESIF document suggests a strategic way forward that will provide a catalyst for economic growth and jobs for Worcestershire.
We will let you know the outcome of our submission when Government gets back to us later this year.

Call for ‘Expressions of Interest’

As part of the consultation process for both the European Structural & Investment Fund Strategy (ESIF) and Worcestershire’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP),  we sent out a call for ‘Expressions of Interest’ late last year.

We have received submissions from many diverse organisations, all of which will be reviewed by the WLEP executive team over the next few weeks.
We will be responding to all those who submitted an ‘Expression of Interest’ before the end of March at the very latest.   However, the feedback to project proposers is likely to be in the form of observations on, for example,  how to add value to submissions by developing linkages across a number of schemes rather than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.
Proposers are also asked to note that of the two main funding routes available to the LEP the Single Growth Fund will not be available to spend on projects until April 2015 and EU funds are unlikely to be available until the end of 2014 at the earliest

Additional European funding for Worcestershire

In addition to the funds available from the European Structural and Investment Fund, we were delighted to hear that Worcestershire has been awarded a further €2.8 million (£2.2 million) from DEFRA for the period 2015-2020.
The money is from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development and comes from Common Agricultural Policy direct payments.  It is specifically intended for businesses in rural areas, including farming, who will be able to apply for funding of activities that support Worcestershire LEP’s wider European Structural and Investment Funds Strategy (see above).

Planning permission for Technology Park

More good news for the county’s future economic and employment prospects came with the announcement that planning permission had been granted for Worcester Technology Park.

The 70-hectare site is located adjacent to Junction 6 of the M5 and will provide 180-200,000 sq m of office and manufacturing space

Targeting technology-rich manufacturing businesses, the completed development has the potential to create 5,500 jobs and generate £1,719m in Gross Value Added over a 10-year period.

The Park is one of four 'Game Changer' sites in the county that will provide employment land that is seen by Worcestershire LEP, the County Council and the respective District Councils as vital to support conditions for business growth.  The other sites are located at South Kidderminster, Redditch Eastern Gateway and Malvern Science Park.

The new access to the Tech Park and its primary infrastructure will commence later in 2014 with the first serviced plots becoming available next year.

Broadband rollout

Our Executive Director, Gary Woodman, recently attended the launch of ‘Superfast Worcestershire’ – a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the local government family. The partnership aims for 90% of county premises to be able to receive superfast broadband by 2016.

The ability to offer superfast broadband is central to the LEP’s strategy for Worcestershire’s future economic growth.  Attracting investment to the county and retaining and growing existing businesses is contingent upon the availability of world class technology.  The LEP therefore wholeheartedly welcomes the commitment shown by the County Council, BT and our local government family to invest in the vital infrastructure.

For further information about the rollout, visit the project’s dedicated website

UKTI tour to ‘Emerging Europe’

Interested in doing business with some of Europe’s fastest developing countries?  Then contact UKTI for details of a five day tour they are organising to ‘Emerging Europe’ – encompassing the major cities of Krakow and Brno and onwards to Prague, Bratislava and Budapest.
The tour is taking place from 2 – 7 March and costs £75 + VAT, excluding flights and accommodation.
Opportunities have been identified in several sectors, including: energy; financial services; healthcare & life sciences; infrastructure; retail, food & drink; and security & ICT.
To register your interest or for further information, email by10 February.

Upcoming Events

Grow with confidence small business forum
28 February 2014
Gainsborough Hotel, Kidderminster

Wyre Forest apprenticeship show
5 March 2014
Kidderminster Town Hall

Wyre Forest jobs fair
14 March 2014
Kidderminster Town Hall

WLEP business leaders breakfast workshop
14 March 2014
Worcester Bosch

Redditch engineering & automotive show
29 April 2014
Redditch Town Hall

WLEP Annual Conference
10 October 2014
Chateau Impney, Droitwich

WLEP Board meetings:
26 February 2014
20 March 2014
22 May 2014
24 July 2014
23 September 2014
20 November 2014


Downward trend continues

Latest statistics show that Job Seekers' Allowance claimant numbers in the county continue to fall.

The claimant count rate is now 2.2% of the 16-64 resident population (compared with 3.7% for the West Midlands as a whole and 2.9% for England). Claimants in the 18-24 age group also fell and now stand at 4.7% (compared to 6.2 % for the West Midlands and 4.8% for England).

The number claiming benefit is still above the pre-recession low in December 2007, but the outlook does look promising both for Worcestershire and for the country as a whole.

Further information is available here.

Connecting schools & businesses programme

Worcestershire County Council, in collaboration with Worcestershire LEP, Worcestershire Association of Secondary Heads (WASH), the County's 70 strategic businesses and the Worcestershire Ambassadors, has developed a ‘Connecting schools and businesses programme’.
An important part of this project is an on-line work experience portal for use by employers and schools.   
Our aim is to make work experience more valuable for both students and employers.  The portal will provide students with opportunities in a wide range of business environments, helping them to make more informed career choices.  Employers will be able to promote their businesses and give young people an insight into the wide range of future career opportunities in the county.
Due to be launched in the spring, we are keen for more Worcestershire based businesses to sign up.   If you are interested, or for more information, please contact

Wyre Forest Apprenticeship show

 If you want to recruit apprentices into a wide range of sectors in the next year, you may be interested in exhibiting at the Wyre Forest Apprenticeship show.
Taking place on Wednesday 5 March from 1.00 – 7.00 pm at Kidderminster Town Hall, it’s your chance to meet year 10 and 11 students who are considering their post-16 options.
To book your place or for further details, please contact:

Redditch Engineering and Automotive Show

If, however, you are looking specifically to recruit engineering apprentices, book your place at the Redditch Engineering and Automotive Show, taking place at Redditch Town Hall on Tuesday 29 April from 8.00 am – 5.00 pm.
Britain – and our region – needs more engineers. If you want to offer an insight or advice on careers in engineering – or have engineering apprenticeships available – this is the event for you.
For further information, please contact:

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Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

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Malvern Hills Science Park, Geraldine Road
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