The BIG Conversation

The Worcestershire LEP delivered its flagship event of 2023/24, ‘Worcestershire: The BIG Conversation’.

Taking place on Friday 23 February, ‘Worcestershire: The BIG Conversation’ was a landmark event for the county, bringing together the public, private and education sectors to discuss the opportunities and challenges that face the county over the next 20 years.

With relevant topics at the heart of the event, attendees got to actively engage in discussions that can influence and shape the local economy. Worcestershire: The BIG Conversation was split into three key themes:

  • Skills and training
  • Innovation
  • Growing your business.

Each session provided an overview of the current work being done, and then provided attendees the chance to discuss and vote on what the future of each session should be.

Those unable to attend the event, are still able to catch-up on the sessions with each session being recorded and made available on demand. The Worcestershire LEP would like as many organisations as possible to follow the discussion and engage with the partnership to shape future delivery.

Below you can watch the introduction piece from the event, this provides a summary and overview of the purpose of the event and covers the achievements and work of the Local Enterprise Partnership over the past decade.


Skills and Training

Here you can watch the Skills and Training session.

Creating value through Innovation

Here you can watch the Innovation session.

Growing your business, Growing Worcestershire

Here you can watch the Growing your business session.

If you would like to engage with the Worcestershire LEP following the BIG Conversation event, please drop the team an email on


Previous WLEP Conference Events

The Worcestershire LEP Virtual Conference 2020 was split across 5 days from 12th to 16th October.

Each day of the week long programme had a special focus topic which guided the content that was shared on that day.

Every day started with an ‘Expresso Update’.  This short update, available as both a video and written piece was by Chief Executive Gary Woodman and gave an overview on the subject for the day with links to various content pieces to watch and engage with to gain a better understanding of background to each topic, explaining what the WLEP and partners are working towards.

The main focus each day was the ‘Making Connections’ feature. This was an hour long special where Gary was joined by various guests to discuss in detail what we achieved, what the future development looks like and why this work is important to organisations across the county.

Details on the sessions with some background information and the speaker breakdown is available using the sections below. Within these sections, the Making Connections feature episodes can be accessed through the WLEP’s YouTube Channel.

If you have any questions around the 2020 Virtual Conference, please contact the team by emailing

Skills & Employment

Skills & Employment – Monday 12th October

Background: Skills and Recruitment are a challenge for many businesses as they look to grow and expand their operations. Having people with the right skills can be a concern and often difficult. Worcestershire LEP works with a plethora of partners around the county to help businesses efficiently build their future workforce with programmes supporting careers advice in schools, promoting apprenticeships, internships and much more.


Judy Chadwick
Director of Skills – Worcestershire LEP
Luke Payton
Headteacher – St Bede’s Middle School
Pippa Dressler-Pearson
Project Manager – QinetiQ
Alex Price
PR & Communications Coordinator – Worcestershire LEP
Stuart Laverick
Chief Principle – Heart of Worcestershire College
Ben Mannion
Director – Hewett Recruitment
Kul Sanghara
Business Account Manager – Worcestershire Growth Hub

Watch the feature episode here

Healthy Worcestershire

Healthy Worcestershire – Tuesday 13th October 

Background: The last few months have put many new challenges on businesses which has required them to adapt in order to survive and evolve. Within this day we will be exploring how the Worcestershire business community has adapted, what the trends are suggesting and how organisations can continue to operate safely with COVID restrictions in place.


 Phoebe Dawson
Director of Investment and Partnerships – Worcestershire LEP
Samantha McCarthy
Worcester BID
Kath Cobain
Director – Public Health West Midlands
Dale Parmenter
Helen Smith
Severn Valley Railway
Nick Corley
Department for International Trade
John Dillon
Managing Director – GJS Dillon

Watch the feature episode here


Digital and Physical Infrastructure

Digital and Physical Infrastructure – Wednesday 14th October

Background: The Worcestershire LEP and partners are keen to try and improve both the digital and physical connectivity of the county to ensure Worcestershire is a connected county. Numerous schemes have been delivered to help achieve this and future projects have been identified to help take the county to the next level.


Luke Willetts
Deputy CEO – Worcestershire LEP
Rachel Hill
Worcestershire County Council
David Throup
Environmental Agency
Chris Walker
Steve Ashton
Broadband Connectivity – Worcestershire County Council
Andy Mckenzie
Project Manager – Worcestershire 5G Testbed

Watch the feature episode here

Future Economy

Future Economy – Thursday 15th October

Background: The future is always an interesting topic for organisations to think about. Worcestershire’s economy will change going forward and the Worcestershire LEP and partners are working to help ensure businesses are supported through this and that dynamic businesses can lead in innovation for the region. This all helps to promote Worcestershire at the forefront for the region in terms of innovation and as a great place for all.


Linda Smith
CEO of BetaDen & Director of Enterprise – Worcestershire LEP
Matt Atkinson
Carl Arntzen
CEO – Worcester Bosch
Anna Wardell-Hill
Bromsgrove District Council
Simon Hyde
CEO – Faun Zoeller
Randesh Kalar
Business Account Manager – Worcestershire Growth Hub
Sharon Smith
CEO – Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce
Julia Williams
Chair – Worcestershire Ambassadors

Watch the feature episode here

One Worcestershire

One Worcestershire – Friday 16th October

: The final day of the Worcestershire LEP Virtual Conference will be looking closely at the overall achievements for the last 12 months across Worcestershire. From both the Worcestershire LEP and partners, we will reflect and outline how we are carrying that momentum forward to achieve our 2040 Vision.


Luke Willetts
Director of Operations
Phoebe Dawson
Director of Investment & Partnerships
Linda Smith
CEO – BetaDen & Director of Enterprise
Judy Chadwick
Director of Skills
Mark Stansfeld

Watch the feature episode here