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December 2015


New statistics show that the South West is thriving with Bristol as the core city
The Office of National Statistics have reported that Bristol’s economy grew by 6.5% between 2013 and 2014, the third highest annual growth seen in any of the cities covered behind Glasgow and London. The strongest growth was seen in finance (11.0%), public services (8.9%) and real estate (8.5%). more

The South West is also reportedly one of the fastest expanding UK regions in 2015, with 2.5% GVA growth in 2015, outpacing the UK average of 2.3% according to a new EY forecast, with South West employment growth at 1.5%, the fastest in the UK outside of London. Furthermore, Bristol is expected to be one of the fastest expanding cities in the UK, with 2.6% growth over the next three years. more

In further good news, Bristol polled first place as the UK’s top start up hub outside of London according to a new study by Almost 3,000 businesses launched in the city last year on the back of its business support, fast broadband speeds, growth activity, access to finance and skilled workforce. more

NEET ESF funding for West of England now open
Applications can now be made for ESF funded activity that supports individuals who are NEET in the West of England. more

Regions schools above national average
Three of West of England authorities’ areas (Bristol, B&NES and North Somerset) are in the top 20 local authorities nationally (out of c150) for the percentage of pupils attending “good” or “outstanding” secondary schools. The latest Ofsted Annual review presented a very positive picture about the education system locaaly and highlights the quality of life on offer. more



Boxworks opens for business
Boxworks, 20 shipping containers transformed into custom designed workspace for the creative, digital and high-tech industries, have opened providing an additional 30% expansion for the Engine Shed. more

Work starts on key site in Weston town centre
Construction has started on the £18m third phase of a key regeneration project in the heart of Weston-super-Mare. Developers of Dolphin Square, McLaren Life, have secured well known restaurants and leisure operators for the project bringing new vitality to the centre, and particularly the year round night time economy. more

Bristol uses Green Capital status to play a key role in Paris climate talks
Bristol co-hosted the Cities and Regions Pavilion at COP21 and used the opportunity to join forces with past European Green Capitals to urge nations to listen to cities and regions who are closer to the issues and leading the way in tackling climate change. Mayor George Ferguson also used the platform to pledge to accelerate its carbon neutrality target to 100% by 2050. more

Local heat networks developed in South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire, with support from central government, has commissioned a ground breaking study which shows it is technically and economically viable to build an energy centre in the middle of a large scale housing development (such as the former Filton Airfield site) which would connect residential and business premises to a heat supply. The new homes would benefit from cheaper fuel bills and reduced CO2 emissions. more

Bristol Arena planning applications are submitted
Following a public consultation, planning applications have been submitted for the proposed 12,000 capacity Bristol Arena. Strong support was expressed through the consultation with over 86% of respondents fully or broadly supporting plans. Following the consultation plans were developed further to show how events spaces could be better used and addressing concerns raised around access. more

West of England’s healthcare innovators generate £12m through new projects
The West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) has generated more than £12m to support collaborative projects between health service providers, industry and universities. The AHSN plays a critical role in improving healthcare delivery through the region and is tasked with deriving up innovation in the sector. more

Authorities to collaborate on Severn Estuary Resources
Representatives from local government on both sides of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of the region’s offshore renewable energy resources including wind, wave and tidal with the potential to contribute as much as 14GW of low carbon energy, around 4% of total energy needs of the UK. more

First UK Housing climate pledge
Kevin McCloud’s Bristol based HAB housing has made a UK first in the house building industry by committing to deliver an “Energy Positive” (a development which produces more energy than it uses) housing scheme in Bristol by 2018. In order to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees, the buildings sector must reduce emissions by 84 gigatonnes of CO2 by 2050 - the equivalent of not building 22,000 coal fired power plants. more



Local Sector Skills Statements launched
Following the Annual Business Skills Survey 2015, and with the support of our sector groups and industry body partners, the LEP Skills team have published a suite of Local Sector Skills Statements for each of our priority sectors. The statements outline priorities for action in tackling skills gaps and future skills needs locally and will inform wider strategic planning in partnership with schools, colleges, universities and others. more 

New coding fellowship helps unlock digital opportunities
Develop Me, a new Bristol based digital skills school, is launching a 12 week intensive coding initiative, the “Coding Fellowship”, to help tackle the skills gap and increase diversity in the tech sector across the West. The programme has been developed with support from the Creative Skills Hub and the West of England LEP and will take students form beginners to professional junior developers, addressing the industry’s urgent need for new talent. more

Top 10 global placing for University of Bath and number 1 in Europe
The University of Bath has been ranked 7th in this year’s QS ’50 under 50’ ranking of the world’s best universities under 50 years of age. The ranking is designed to highlight universities whose performance in research and teaching are increasingly impressive given their age. Bath is also ranked number 1 of the European universities featured in this year’s list. more

Bristol announces that 2016 will be the “Year of Learning”
Bristol Learning City, an initiative that brings together influential partners to promote learning for individuals and organisations, has announced that 2016 will be the Year of Learning and with opportunities for businesses to get involved as Learning Ambassadors supporting projects such as the Enterprise Zone Engagement Hub and the Passport to Employability in Bristol (PEBL). more

South Gloucestershire & Stroud College Science & Technology Park welcomes over 300 guests
SGS College’s new Berkeley Green Campus, the Gloucestershire Science & Technology Park, welcomed  prospective students and parents to find out more about how the site will be developed and on the courses in engineering, advanced manufacturing, cyber security and games design that will be delivered from September 2016. more



Airbus lands funding to help develop the aircraft of the future
Business Secretary Sajid Javid announced that Airbus has confirmed a £14m investment in research and technology at its Filton plant to lead research into next generation aircraft wings and fuel systems. The investment will support long term economic growth in the aerospace sector and is supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). more

Two Bristol businesses collaborate to produce state of the art new birth simulation model
Phineas Group, who specialise in designing and manufacturing a range of plastic display products have partnered with Limbs & Things, a manufacturer of quality medical training products, to develop the PROMT flex Birthing simulator, a realistic training platform for healthcare professionals to acquire the delicate skills require to preform routine and difficult childbirth scenarios. more

Good year end for Bath businesses
Bath based superfood wholesaler Supernutrients has appeared for the second year running in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 a league table of the UK’s fastest growing businesses. Rising demand for healthy and natural foods helped grow Supernutrients’ annual sales by an average of 86% over the last three years. more

Zynstra, the Bath based pioneer in Cloud managed server appliances, has picked up a TechCityinsider award for best technology business in the Bath & Bristol region. The firm offers SME businesses remotely managed, enterprise class IT on a pay as you go basis. more

Bath-based marketing agency AgencyUK has won five awards at the Drum Network Awards including the coveted Chairman’s Award for its work with Welsh lamb. more

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