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March 2015


West of England – the home of knowledge, innovation and quality of life
The WE LEP has unveiled a new map and policy document setting out their strengths, success stories and future opportunities as well as demonstrating how the region is leading the UK in the areas of knowledge, innovation and quality of life. 

The booklet and map, which will serve as as a reference tool for regional business champions and national politicians, was showcased in Westminster to MPs, Lords and other key government figures. more

Cycle City Ambition Grant
The West of England has been successful in biding for £19m of funding over the next 3 years from the Cycle City Ambition Grant.  When matched with local authority and third party contributions it will deliver more than £30m of investment.

The region has seen a significant growth in cycling in recent years with the number of cycle journeys increasing by 31% between 2008 – 2012. For journeys to work we have the highest mode share in the South West and amongst the core cities. more

£10m milestone reached by West of England Growth Fund
The WE LEP has announced that it has supported 222 companies with over £10m of funds through the West of England Growth Fund creating over 800 new jobs to date. The funds enable a whole range of businesses with job creation, capital investment, training and research & development.

Beneficiaries include Combined Brewers in South Gloucestershire who plan to move into larger premises with increased brewing capacity following their pay out of just over £30K and Chorus, based in Portishead, who have recently been listed in the Top 10 fastest growing female led small businesses in the Fortuna 50 Index.

Demand for office space remains high
Bristol recorded the second highest number of big office deals in 2014, surpassed only by Manchester.  The City has also recorded one of the lowest vacancy rates at 1.1%. more

The results are back up by the recent announcement that Embassy House, in Bristol is now full following a 10 year lease agreed with Endemol UK and three new tenants have joined the Hive in Weston super Mare.  The former Cadbury’s factory in Keynsham has submitted plans to create 120,000 sq ft of office space following high levels of demand. more

North Somerset Council have also taken a 15 year lease on space within the new Enterprise House development in order to stimulate economic regeneration and unlock more than 900 jobs, a significant contribution towards the overall target of 9,000 jobs across the whole of the Junction 21 Enterprise Area.

It is hoped that the move will also attract other speculative development to the area as demand increases for modern offices along the M5 corridor. more



Bath to feature on new Royal Mail stamp
One of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, Pulteney Bridge is being celebrated on one of 10 new stamps launched by the Royal Mail to depict the engineering genius of bridge building around the UK.  The stamps show how the UK’s bridges have evolved from stone crossing to construction triumphs. more

One Tree per Child
Bristol has been chosen as the first city in the world to rollout the launch of a new international initiative called One Tree Per Child.  Co –founded by Olivia Newton John, the project aims to have every one of the 36,000 children in Bristol’s primary school planting at least one tree each.  Children will also be educated about local endangered trees and conservation projects. more

Major survey to help West of England capitalise on high tech opportunities
Following the success of the first SouthWestVR conference, a national virtual reality event held in Bristol that attracted the likes of Sony, Atlantic productions and Bossa Studios, a major piece of research is being undertaken to ensure the West of England region capitalizes on the huge opportunities in the industry. 

The survey, commissioned by Invest Bristol & Bath, is designed to identify the sectors skills, training and recruitment needs. more

Winning Arena design announced
Populous, who designed the Olympic Stadium, have been announced as the winning team for the new Bristol Arena.  They will work in partnership with Bath based practices Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects and BuroHappold Engineering.

The team designed an innovative concept that allows for smaller capacity theatre style events, while quickly converting to larger configurations for major conventions and up to 12,000 capacity performances. more

West of England manufacturing industry “brimming with confidence”
Manufacturing companies across the West of England have increased output and investment over recent months, resulting in new jobs and a brighter outlook than most other regions of the UK according to a new survey from the manufacturers’ organisation EEF. 

The findings show that 18% of firms reported a 5% increase in output with 22% seeking to recruit. This is in sharp contrasts to the North where the fall in oil prices has impacted orders. more

In recognition of this, and to create a forum for driving forward business initiative, the South West Innovative Manufacturing forum (SWIM) has been re launched. more

Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England LEP, links the economy and natural environment at the West of England Nature Partnership Conference
Nearly 100 practitioners were in attendance at the West of England Nature Partnership Annual Conference on 10th March to hear about the work the partnership has been undertaking to improve the natural environment in the West of England.

Dominic Hogg, Chair of the WENP said “we were delighted with the conference, the speakers gave excellent talks that really encapsulated some of the ambitions the WENP has – to ensure the value of the natural environment is embedded into local decision making for the benefit of people, wildlife and the economy”. more



New Gloucestershire University Technical College announced
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) and the University of Gloucestershire have received approval from the Department or Education to create a state of the art University Technical College (UTC) specialising in Digital Technologies and Advanced Manufacturing.

The UTC will open in September 2016 and will be a purpose built training centre for 14 -18 year olds aimed at developing the next generation of talent to support future workplace requirements. more

Join other local businesses and take part in our 2015 Business Skills Survey
The 2015 West of England LEP Business Skills Survey is now well underway with a wide variety of responses including KPMG, Knightstone Housing and Opposable Games.

The results of the survey will help to inform the future skills strategy for the region, as well as directly benefiting the local business community by closing skills gaps and enabling the LEP to better understand industry needs. Complete the survey here

West of England industry leader in Composites Engineering Technology
The West of England is leading the way in the development and application of composites technology, resulting in local business growth and jobs being created that require new, specialist skills and knowledge.

The Rise of the Engineer Issue 2 factsheet delves into the composites sector, explaining exactly what composite materials are and the opportunities that are available in this new and exciting industry. Download the Rise of the Engineer Issue 2 factsheet here

Labour Market Intelligence bringing employment data to life
The WE LEP have produced a series of user-friendly sector and geographically focused LMI documents which provide high quality Careers Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) to ensure young people and adults in the West of England are able to make informed career choices. download

Apprenticeship Hub West re-launches during National Apprenticeship Week 2015
Apprenticeship Hub West is a resource for both individuals and employers, which provides a wealth of information about apprenticeships and encourages employers to grow their businesses by taking on apprentices in the West of England. The Hub has been set up by the WE LEP, the National Apprenticeship Service and Training Providers. more

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