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February 2015


2015 Employer Skills Survey
After a highly successful 2014 Employer Skills Survey, the LEP skills team is pleased to announce that the 2015 survey is now live. The 2015 Employer Skills Survey will help to establish the skills mapping strategy for the West of England. To ensure your business is represented click here


Nick Clegg visits Engine Shed to announce Growth Deal boost
The West of England Local Enterprise has been awarded an £18.1million increase in its funding through the Growth Deal that will be invested in the West of England from 2016 – 1021. This is in addition to the £212.6 million agreed in July 2014. 

The funding will help deliver Engine Shed 2, a Superfast broadband extension programme and local pinch point schemes to address congestion hotspots. More


West of England Local Enterprise Partnership heads to Downing Street to attract investors
The Bristol & Bath region was among three UK investment hubs to be chosen to take part in a Government hosted event on January 27.  International investors gathered at Downing Street to hear about the opportunities the region and Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (BTQEZ) has to offer in terms of generating growth and attracting jobs.

Colin Skellett, chair of the LEP and Mayor George Ferguson, supported by the Invest Bristol and Bath team, demonstrated the great opportunities our region has to offer investors and developers looking for an exciting, well established and high performance market. More


Ground breaking innovation project is launched in Bristol
Bristol is Open is combining Bristol University research and technology with Bristol City Council owned infrastructure, to develop a innovative high performance high speed network.

Support from the cabinet has now been granted enabling the company to capture information, using fibre optic and wireless connectivity, about many aspects of city life, including energy, air quality and traffic flows. Data captured from the variety of sensors in the city will create a snapshot of the environment on a grand scale. It is the first project of its kind in the UK. More



Bristol and Bath region “major force” driving UK digital economy
A major new report called “Powering a Digital Economy 2015” has revealed that the region has been named as the UK’s most important centre for the fastest growing digital industry outside of London.  

Home to a globally-significant collection of innovative businesses, and backed by a network of support organisations such as Bristol & Bath Science Park and SET squared, the report highlights strengths are due to a rich heritage in aerospace, hi-tech and natural history film-making. More


Go Green – guiding businesses to a sustainable future
Over 300 people attended the launch of Go Green a Business West and Low Carbon South West initiative designed to help businesses achieve their green ambitions and benefit from the awareness created by the European Green Capital award.

Go Green have developed an online tool and website where registered businesses can access support and create a tailor-made action plan. More


Driverless car trial to start in Bristol and South Gloucestershire
Transport Minister, Claire Perry and Business Secretary, Vince Cable have launched the VENTURER consortium’s driverless car trial giving the project the green light to test autonomous vehicles in the real world. The trial will run for 36 months with testing on public roads due to begin in early 2016. More


Jobs boom for South West
South west unemployment fell to 4.4%, below the national average of 5.8%, between September and November 2014. More

Meanwhile the CBI report that half of companies in the south west expect their staff levels to grow over the next year, with many of the firms planning to recruit graduates and apprentices. More

The annual Construction Skills Network report suggests that more than 6,000 jobs a year could be created in the south west construction sector over the next five years. More


Bath projects take a step forward
Bath Quays Waterfront project is progressing as on pedestrian improvements in the centre, whilst the council has applied for planning permission for 700 new homes and a school (and possibility of a cable car) on a former MoD facility. More

Bath Abbey is developing new compelling ways for visitors to explore its 1,200 year history whilst engaging with present day activities. More


Business West makes it into the Sunday Times top 100
Business West, the largest business membership organisation in the region, has been named as one of the UK’s best employers in the latest annual Sunday Times 100 Best Not for Profit Companies to work for list. More. Meanwhile, Trade Minister Lord Livingston has announced that UKTI have chosen Business West as the provider for the South West for delivering export support to businesses.


National campaign to promote tourism in North Somerset
North Somerset Council has launched a new “Family Fun in the Summer” website as part of its participation in “Growing Tourism Locally” a VisitEngland led project funded by the Regional Growth Fund. More


Hilton to open a 200 bed Bristol airport hotel
Hilton worldwide has announced plans to open the first hotel at Bristol airport in 2016. The airport is also working with North Somerset Council to improve airport access. Highway improvements started last week. More


‘Creating Opportunities for Nature’ - West of England Nature Partnership Annual Conference
The WENP are holding their second annual conference on 10 March where they will be discussing why taking a multi-partnership approach to restoring the natural environment can result in benefits for people, nature and the economy.

Speakers include Colin Skellett, Chair, WofE LEP, Dominic Hogg, Chair, WENP and Bevis Watts CEO, Avon Wildlife Trust. More


Rise of the Engineer
The West of England LEP skills team has produced a series of factsheets to highlight the opportunities available in the regions engineering sector. Download issue 1


Mobile ticketing available on buses across the West of England
First has launched m-ticketing enabling bus users to use their smartphones as a means of paying for travel. Tickets are bought in advance via an app and stored in a virtual wallet until you are ready to use them. More



Local firms recognised at industry awards
Airhead Education, based in Bath, has won an international award for Innovation in ICT at The Bett Awards, a world leading learning technology event, for their cloud desktop for education providers. More

Bristol Cider Shop is celebrating after being crowned the UK’s top cider retailer at The Drinks Retailing Awards. More

Magazine The Drum ranks UK agencies according to the number of awards they received during 2014 and Bath based integrated marketing firm The Agency came out as the highest placed independent agency and top non London outfit. More


Funding available for SMEs
Smaller south west businesses are being urged to take advantage of a loan fund that has £1m to distribute before December 2015.  Small Loans for Businesses, administered by South West Investment Group (SWIG) has supported 200 businesses across the region with nearly £5m worth of funding since it was launched in 2009.  Business can apply for up to £50,000 from the fund. More


Live Lounge open to support growing creative sector
Clip Display, based in Pucklechurch, has invested thousands to build a 13,000 sq ft “live lounge” in order to support its clients and the flourishing creative sector in Bristol.  The company, who design and build exhibition stands, developed the space to enable businesses to brainstorm ideas and rehearse before exhibitions or conferences. More

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