Update from Worcestershire LEP Chief Executive, Gary Woodman: December 2017

With New Year celebrations now only a matter of weeks away, we can reflect on what has been a very successful year for business in Worcestershire.

Those of you that were able to attend our Conference on 1 December will have seen just how much we have achieved in the past 12 months, including the UK’s strongest growth in higher level workforce skills and productivity, and to take a look at the many exciting projects we have to look forward to. I am delighted to say that just under 400 businesses were able to attend our conference and pick up their copy of our latest annual report.

All of our speakers were able to convey the exciting progress and developments that are taking place both locally and nationally. The Conference website has now been updated and you can view the slides and photos from the event online.

Just a few days before our Conference, Government revealed its new Industrial Strategy for boosting productivity and earning power throughout the UK. We are pleased to see that the ambitious strategy is very much in line with our local plans for boosting productivity, particularly with the development of 5G infrastructure and I would encourage you all to take a look at the national plans.

Our local connectivity is continuing to go from strength to strength and the latest multimillion pound investment into Superfast Worcestershire will only help to improve our connectivity further. Once complete, a total of 96% of businesses and homes will be able to access the superfast broadband, which is great news for boosting the productivity of our local companies. Last week also saw the official opening of the Centre of Vocational Excellence in Worcester, which will boost our local productivity even further. We invested £950,000 into the training facility that will help to provide training to several hundred learners each year at all levels.

Our latest Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year for 2017, Ben Hyde, spoke at the event and I would like to congratulate him and all other finalists from last month’s Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2017, it was a fantastic celebration of our skilled workforce.

As this is our last newsletter for 2017, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I look forward to making 2018 yet another successful year for local businesses.