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April 2016


National Composites Centre hosts the Chancellor of the Exchequer
George Osborne chose the National Composites Centre (NCC) at the Bristol and Bath Science Park to deliver the government’s pro-EU Treasury document. Following a tour of the centre Mr Osborne described the NCC as “brilliant” and praised the workers for “delivering world–leading research and innovation in composite for some of Britain’s most important industries”. He also added that “the South West is a great showcase for Britain’s successful aerospace industry”. more

Prime Minister commends achievements of LEPs
As LEPs mark five years of influence on local economies, the Prime Minister has said he is “delighted to see the real impact Local Enterprise Partnerships are making across the country”. Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government echoed the Prime Minister’s view at the LEP annual conference, which saw record delegate numbers, saying that LEPs contributions were “absolutely invaluable” and announcing a further £1.8bn of local Growth Deal funding. more

Construction for new Portishead railway line to begin next year
Cllr Nigel Ashton recently confirmed that work will begin for the new Portishead line in 2017 after the council agreed to buy two pieces of land which will be used to create stations at Portishead and Pill. more

The MetroWest Phase 1 project is funded through the LEP’s Local Growth Fund and will create a line that links to Bristol Temple Meads. This forms part of a wider £100m project being rolled out by MetroWest, which will also improve services to Yate, Henbury, Filton, Keynsham and Severn Beach. more

Arena gets green light
Two applications relating to the £90m Bristol Arena have been granted planning consent, paving the way for the 12,000 seat venue scheduled to open in 2018, and the redevelopment of the wider Arena Island site. 65% of the construction workforce will be employed from within the region. more

Invest Bristol and Bath report shows how virtual reality (VR) is set to enter schools, homes and the workplace
Invest Bristol and Bath have published a report which shows how VR will impact not only the gaming and entertainment sectors, but education, travel and construction industries.

Bristol and Bath are emerging as one of the UK’s major centres for VR development with leading edge work being undertaken within the universities and presenting exciting opportunities. more


Strava relocates European headquarters to Bristol
Strava, the social network that lets athletes track their rides and runs, is moving its international operation from London to Bristol in conjunction with expanding teams.

The city was chosen for its growing reputation as a creative and technology hub, strong talent pool, transport connections and surrounding countryside - ideal for enacting the company’s belief that “there is always time for a run or a ride”. more

Good news for SMEs
A survey from Bibby Financial Services has found that SMEs in the South West have the highest confidence across all regions with 52% expecting sales to increase over the next 3 months. more

To support this HSBC has launched a £700m SME fund for South West businesses to help them grow, invest and create jobs. more

Meanwhile Bristol’s small and medium sized law firms are among the most profitable in the UK having achieved an average 26% increase in their margins last year according to a NatWest report. more

Top designers to bring new lease of life to Tropicana
North Somerset Council has commissioned HemingwayDesign to help develop a vision to regenerate the former Tropicana site on Weston-super-Mare seafront exploring its potential to become a multi-use creative arts and entertainment venue. Join the discussion

Foodie news
Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White is opening a new restaurant at Cadbury House in North Somerset in June 2016 and the Bath and North East Somerset Local Food Partnership has been awarded a Bronze Award in the Sustainable Food Cities Awards for its work in tackling key food health and sustainability issues.

Independent food and drink retailers will occupy converted shipping containers as part of the Wapping Wharf’s harbourside development creating a “food hub”. more

Food Connections returns to Bristol for a third year (29 April-7 May) running a series of fun and educational events, helping people engage with the social, environmental and economic challenges faced in feeding our growing population.

Boost to West of England economy as Brunel museum secures funding
Being Brunel: the national Brunel museum project at the ss Great Britain is now fully funded after a £620,000 investment was announced in the budget.

The museum due to open in 2018 will celebrate the life and works of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and is set to drive an additional £1m plus each year to Bristol’s economy.

Bath University innovation to boost UK steel sector
A University of Bath researcher has been awarded a grant to develop an innovation which assesses the solidification process of metal, improving quality and productivity and therefore helping the UK steel industry become more competitive, providing greater long term job security. more

South Gloucestershire out of town office continues to grow
Accolade Wines has expanded its Avonmouth warehouse and distribution centre creating 30 jobs. The new £8.5 bottling line, which can now fill 1,200 bottles a minute, is said to be Europe’s largest wine distribution centre. more

Further good news for 2510 Aztec West as Office tech specialist Richoh leases 2,694sq foot (more) and mobility company TVM Cheltenham has become the latest tenant to sign up at Beeches Industrial Estate in Yate. more


The West of England Growth Hub is a one stop shop for businesses and provides tailored search results and personalised recommendations based on individual business needs.

Entrepreneurs Exchange  - 40 leading business founders are coming together to share experiences and offer free business advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs. The event will take place across 20 cities, including Bristol, at 6pm on 18 May.

GetSet for Growth is a specialist service (funded by the Regional Growth Fund) offering free marketing and finance expertise to ambitious businesses with the potential to grow through workshops, masterclasses and 1:1 advice. more

Virgin StartUP Meetups offers monthly networking opportunities for start up businesses in the South West covering areas such as marketing and exporting.


Sajid Javid launches £10m fund to boost degree apprenticeships
A £10m fund has been launched that will support universities in designing and delivering new degree apprenticeships which allow students to study whilst working and gaining business experience. more

The West of England Apprenticeship Hub West is now live! 
Apprenticeship Hub West contains all the information you need to know with regards to apprenticeships – whether you are a business looking to recruit and do not know where to start, an individual thinking about becoming an apprentice and need to know what vacancies are available locally or a parent or educational organisation requiring more information.

Could your business offer strategic direction to local schools?
As part of the Careers Enterprise Company initiative to create powerful connections between local businesses and education providers, we are looking for business leaders who can support local schools leadership teams in developing their careers strategies and employer engagement plans.

If you think you can help and would like to find out more please the Enterprise Adviser Network pages on our website.

Cultural Apprenticeships in the West of England
On 28 April Bath College and Bath Cultural Forum are hosting an apprenticeship focus session for employers. The event will explore the best potential models for delivery of cultural apprenticeships in the West of England covering skills such as venue operations and live events. more

Support “Your Green Future”
Your Green Future, taking place on 17 and 18 May at UWE, outlines the growing opportunities within the low carbon sector to secondary school students across the West of England. A series of creative workshops covering sustainability are planned and the organisers are asking the business community to get involved.

Digital Bristol Week 2016 (9 – 15 May)
Digital Bristol week, part of the Digital cities series, is taking place in May. Across the week there will be opportunities to update your digital skills, learn new ways to innovate your business and explore the latest in the fast changing world of creative technology whilst promoting collaboration across the creative sector.

The week will also include the Vision Conference run by Bristol Media.

2016 Bath & Bristol Apprenticeship Awards shortlist announced
The shortlisted finalists for 2016 Bristol & Bath Apprenticeship Awards have been announced from categories ranging from Micro to Large Employer of the Year, Provider of the Year and Apprentice of the Year, to name just a few.

The winners will find out if they have been successful at a gala dinner at the Bristol Marriott Hotel on Thursday 19th May, hosted by Alex Lovell, BBC Bristol’s female news anchor on the nightly regional TV news programme, ‘Points West’.

Tickets are still available for the evening and can be ordered through the Bristol Post.

2016 National Apprenticeship Awards recognise excellence in businesses that grow their own talent through apprenticeships and the apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.  You can find out more about the National Awards by viewing the guidance available.

The deadline for entries to the National Awards is 20 May 2016 at 5:00pm.

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