Today I will be welcoming Margot James MP back to Worcestershire to see more of the fantastic progress that we are making in the county. I am delighted that the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility will also be opening the new North Worcestershire Engineering Centre of Excellence in Redditch as part of her visit. We have invested £350,000 of the Government’s Growth Deal funds into the development of the Engineering Centre of Excellence and today’s meeting will highlight the hugely positive impact that the funding is having in providing skills for our county’s future workforce. The importance of skills was raised a number of times during our previous meeting with Margot and a number of Worcestershire’s growing businesses at the Malvern Hills Science Park, and we will continue to support projects that benefit skills development.
Last week I participated in a number of meetings to discuss boosting inward investment in Worcestershire. Inward investment plays a hugely important role in creating jobs and growing the GVA of our local economy and we are continuing to find new ways to improve our local business environment to encourage this investment. We are currently working with local and regional partners in preparation for our Midlands Engine group participation at the international property investment event, MIPIM Cannes. This event will be perfect for promoting the excellent investment opportunities we currently have locally, including projects such as Worcester Six and the Redditch Eastern Gateway.
Next week I will be speaking at an event with the Worcestershire Regulatory Services who are working to promote the fantastic quality of the County’s food and drink businesses. These meetings will help to develop a structure to enable local businesses to expand and sell more produce nationally and internationally. I look forward to working together with a number of local organisations to shape plans for economic growth and raise the profile of one of the county’s key business sectors.