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May 2016


New Chair for the West of England
The West of England LEP is pleased to announce that Stephen Robertson has been appointed as its new Chair. Stephen brings with him a wealth of diverse experience following his role as Chair of Business West and a non-executive director on the boards of Hargreaves Lansdown plc, Clipper Logistics plc and the Timpson Group.

Stephen will take up the position subject to ratification of the appointment at the next LEP Board meeting in June. more

Employer Skills Survey 2016 now live
Through the LEP’s Annual Employer Skills Survey, the views of employers across the West of England are being sought on recruitment experiences, skills gaps and more. The data will influence the area’s future skills strategy and help develop a local workforce with the right skills to meet the current and future needs of the region’s economy.

Last year, over 640 local businesses contributed to this important research, leading directly to the publication of a suite of Local Sector Skills Statements which help partners improve the quality of careers advice, increase the take-up of apprenticeships and deliver ever more relevant and accessible education and tackle skills gaps and training needs.

Please click here to begin the survey now.

Report names Bristol as UK’s leading smart city outside London
The UK’s first Smart Cities Index has named Bristol as the county’s leading smart city outside London and leader of the pack for digital innovation. The report, published by Huawei, notes Bristol’s strengths in open data access, energy innovation and community engagement. more

West of England’s retail centres join forces to attract more international brands
Retail owners in the West of England are working together to attract even more new retailers to the region and have launched a map that highlights the sector current strengths as well as future economic potential. more



Call for low carbon funding proposals
An ERDF call for proposals addressing low carbon priorities in the West of England will be released in summer 2016. The LEP are holding a briefing session, on 26th May, at the MShed, to provide further information. Book your place here.

Bath Abbey secures Heritage Lottery Grant
The Footprint Project, designed to secure the future of Bath Abbey, has received £10.7m in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project will deliver education and music facilities within the Abbey for the benefit of local residents and thousands of visitors. more

A new Miami look for The Centre
The owners of 17 units are working together to organise and invest in much needed improvements to a prominent building in Weston-super-Mare. The Centre will be given a striking Miami style make over, dramatically improving the whole site making it more attractive for shoppers and residents. more

Whitchurch Family Cycling Centre opens
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, attended the opening of a new family cycle centre at a former athletics track in Whitchurch which will provide families with a large off road cycling space and be used for Bikeability training. more

New partnership to boost renewable energy sector
Regen SW and Engine Shed have announced a new partnership to support the rapid development of the renewable sector in Bristol.

The collaboration will allow Regen SW members free access to the Engine Shed to facilitate networking with academics, high tech entrepreneurs and business leaders. more

Bristol Port celebrates 25 years and cruise passenger milestone
£475m has been invested in the Port in the last 25 years to create a thriving business offering shipping, cruising and logistics services. 

The port opened its cruise terminal in Avonmouth in 2013 and is now the fastest growing region for cruises with routes to more than 20 destinations around the world. A landmark 25,000cruise passenger set sail in April, marking three years of booming demand from holiday makers in the South West. more

Arnolfini is shortlisted for major national prize
The Arnolfini is one of only 5 museums shortlisted for the Art Fund prize for Museum of the year 2016 given to an outstanding museum that has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement. more

Meanwhile latest figures from Bristol Film Office show that television and film production provided a £16.7m boost to Bristol’s economy in 2015/16. more

Festival of Nature 11 – 25 June
The Festival of Nature returns in June for another two weeks of free family friendly events along the River Avon for wildlife lovers of all ages. more

M32 weekend closure
There will be some closures on the M32 between junctions 1 and 3 from 8pm on Friday 10 June until 6am on Monday 13 June. The closures will allow a new bridge to be safely put in place over the motorway for the MetroBus bus only junction. more

Bristol pioneers Happiness Pulse
A new survey for Bristol launches today with the aim of gauging the city’s Happiness Pulse, giving residents an insight into how they can improve their happiness.

The survey, the first of its kind in the world, will enable Bristolians to see trends and understand strengths and needs in different communities and provide city leaders with more understanding of what works in creating conditions in which people can thrive. more



West of England business gain Queen’s Awards
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s Awards which are widely regarded as the UK’s most prestigious business accolade.

West of England winners included Portishead based Viper Subsea Technology, who recently were awarded funding from the West of England Growth Fund, South Gloucestershire’s Precision Dippings Manufacturing and Calnet Systems as well as Lovehoney in Bath. more

New tenants for Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone
Boomsatsuma, who empower young people through education programmes aimed at jobs within the creative sector and GameBoosters, a games incubator, are the latest tenants to join the Engine Shed. more

Ultrahaptics have relocated to The West Wing where they now have a custom built laboratory and sound-poof test area for research to support next phase of expansion.

Vestra Wealth has chosen Bristol as its first UK office outside of London and move to the EZ.

New events launched to help budding entrepreneurs
Virgin StartUP has launched a series of new monthly meetup networking events to help local entrepreneurs gain insight and tips on how to start and grow a business – topics include how to sell, funding for startups and legal and red tape. more



A new era for education in North Somerset
The West of England LEP has helped fund a Law and Professional Services Academy and University Centre in Weston-super-Mare, housed within the Winter Gardens Pavilion and former Arosfa Hotel. It forms part of Weston College’s plan to create a “learning village” model in Weston and address local skills gaps. more

The Association of Colleges (AoC) has presented national Beacon Awards to Weston College’s ASPECT (Advice, School Progression, Employability, Careers, Transition) and LibraryPlus teams. more

Get in Go Far with Apprenticeships in the West of England
Apprenticeships are a great way for young people – and adults – to develop value skills whilst working; and they’re also great for business and the economy, with qualified apprentices boosting apprentices by £214 per week.

For all the latest apprenticeship information ranging from frameworks and standards, pay and the application process, the Apprenticeship Levy or our live apprenticeship vacancies map, visit Apprenticeship Hub West for independent, impartial advice on this and much more. Whether you’re a micro- or small business, HR professional in a multinational firm, teacher, parent/carer or a prospective apprentice wanting to find out more, Apprenticeship Hub West has all you need to know from factsheets and short videos to helpful links and local case studies. #GetInGoFar

Could you or a colleague offer strategic support to a local school?
Are you looking for a great way to develop leadership and management capacity as well as strategic planning and project management skills?

As part of a high-profile Careers and Enterprise Company initiative to create powerful connections between local businesses and schools, we are looking for middle-senior managers or business leaders who could support specially-selected headteachers and school senior leadership teams in developing their careers strategies and employer engagement plans.

If you think you or your business fit the bill, or have a member of staff seeking a unique supported programme of CPD, and would like to find out more please visit the Enterprise Adviser Network pages on our website or email for more details.

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The LEP is working hard to ensure skills match employers' needs
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