Worcestershire LEP Chair, Mark Stansfeld: 1 July 2016

First published in the Worcester News on 1.7.2016

Last month it was a pleasure to announce that the latest statistics have shown that Worcestershire had the third highest growth in prosperity out of all 39 LEP areas in recent years. It was also great to see that the research highlighted Worcestershire as having the greatest growth in workforce skills during that period, measured in terms of the number of people in higher level occupations and the quality of educational attainment.

One area of success with skills locally is with apprenticeships and I look forward to rewarding excellence at the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards in November. If you are looking to recruit an apprentice, there is a wealth of information available from Worcestershire Apprenticeships and a forthcoming event to help employers understand what the Apprenticeship Levy will mean to them. The Levy event, which takes place from 9:30am-12noon on 6 July 2016 at Worcester Racecourse, will help companies to understand how to maximise their return on investment and details on how to book a place are available at www.wlep.co.uk.

Following last week’s result, which saw the UK vote to leave the EU, we are focused on understanding the implications for our local businesses and ensuring appropriate business support continues to be in place to keep up the momentum for economic growth and job creation. We remain committed to creating a connected, creative and dynamic economy and will deliver the programmes we have funding for as well as work to secure additional investment.

We are working with Government to understand what the vote to leave means for the future of the EU funding programme and specifically the money allocated to Worcestershire. We do, however, currently have an open funding call primarily focused on leadership and management training in small and medium-sized enterprises and I would encourage interested parties to apply before 11 July with all details available on our website.