Virtual Conference 2020

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


Each day had a special focus topic which will guide the content on that day.

This will start with an ‘Expresso Update’ every morning, this short update, available as both a video and written piece is lead by Chief Executive Gary Woodman and will give 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 the work the WLEP and partners are doing.

Included in this update will be the link to the ‘Making Connections feature’. The Making Connections feature is an hour long special where Gary Woodman will be 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.  In order to join this feature each day, when registering you must select the topics you want to join us on.

Below you can find a breakdown of each day’s theme with some information on the guest speakers for the feature length episodes.

Skills & Training – 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.

Attendees of this session will learn more about the Skills agenda in the county and the work the Worcestershire LEP and partners are doing to improve careers education and help more businesses to create their future workforce.


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 Engagement Manager – Worcestershire Business Central

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.

Attendees of this session will be able to hear first hand how different businesses have been able to adapt to the past few months, what new opportunities are there that businesses can take advantage of and receive an update from Public Health West Midlands.


 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

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.

Attendees of this session will be able to hear more on major infrastructure projects in the county such as Worcestershire Parkway as well news on the new Getting Building Fund projects for Worcestershire. There will also be a chance to hear how Worcestershire’s digital connectivity is evolving and the Worcestershire 5G project.


Luke Willetts
Director of Operations – 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

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.

Attendees of this session will learn more about the latest schemes and programmes taking place across the county to help lead Worcestershire to the forefront of development, alongside how the business support environment will change going forward.


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 Engagement Manager – Worcestershire Business Central
Sharon Smith
CEO – Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce
Julia Williams
Chair – Worcestershire Ambassadors

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.

Attendees of this session will hear directly from the Worcestershire LEP on what has been achieved and how we can further expand and develop programmes and schemes to take Worcestershire to 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