We will be discussing our plans for future economic growth and increased prosperity at our Annual Conference, taking place one month today on 4 November. Over 475 business delegates from the public, private and third sector will be present to hear how our local economy is thriving and plans to grow it further. There are a limited number of delegate spaces and sponsorship opportunities remaining for the Conference and I would urge all interested businesses to register at the earliest opportunity.
Raising the skills of our local workforce is vital to achieving a stronger economy and I am pleased to announce that a new £1.1m EU and Big Lottery Fund has been launched for organisations to support the development of skills to overcome barriers to work, education and training. It is also great to see that two key academic organisations have recently achieved national successes. My congratulations go to the University of Worcester who have received ‘Centre of Excellence’ status from the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs and to the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Hub who have achieved their Matrix Accreditation over the past 12 months.
Worcestershire is continuing to see the benefit of our Local Growth Deal investments and we will continue to deliver projects that boost economic growth. Investment from the Worcestershire Growth Fund has enabled the Royal Life Saving Society to relocate and expand its headquarters into Worcestershire, creating a number of local jobs. We have also invested Growth Deal funds into the development of the Centre of Vocational Excellence in Worcester. Construction is now underway on the engineering facility and will create jobs and provide training for hundreds of students.
Last week we saw over 70 creative businesses attend the latest WINN Wednesday event at the University of Worcester Arena. A number of initiatives were launched including ‘theCONVERSATION’, a new collection of innovation articles. Our creative businesses will be in attendance again at this week’s Malvern Festival of Innovation. I enjoyed being able to present at last year’s event and this week will once again remind us of the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship across the region. Finally, do make sure to register for the County’s largest business event, the Chamber of Commerce Expo on 6 October, which will see over 800 business in attendance.