Over 60 delegates from the county’s businesses took part in the interactive workshop designed to both inform those present of the likely content of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) due to be submitted to Government by 31st March and to encourage their input.
Discussion was held on the best inward investment strategy for the county, as well as there being an opportunity for delegates to contribute their views on factors that should be included in the SEP. Suggestions included provision for new Worcester city centre office accommodation, a greater focus on attracting and retaining younger workers and improved rail travel times to London.
The Workshop was also an opportunity for Gary Woodman, Executive Director, to outline the ‘Connecting Schools and Business’ initiative that had been launched at a separate event on Thursday 13th March. This initiative is a partnership between Worcestershire LEP, the Worcestershire Association of Secondary Heads, the county’s 78 strategic businesses and the Worcestershire Ambassadors and is being delivered by Worcestershire Business Central.
Connecting Schools and Business has been designed specifically to strengthen the relationship between schools and business: a key part of one of four strategic objectives identified in Worcestershire LEP’s Business Plan. The initiative’s new web portal: www.worcestershireskillscentral.co.uk was highlighted which, amongst other things, provides a central location for businesses to advertise their work placement opportunities and the facility for students to make direct applications. Other features include an events section and available school governor opportunities. Gary Woodman stated that all 29 of Worcestershire’s state High Schools had enlisted for the initiative, alongside more than 100 local businesses, and he urged those businesses who had not already done so to sign up to the initiative via the website.
Speaking at the business workshop event, Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair of Worcestershire LEP, said: “The turnout for today’s workshop has been excellent and we are grateful to all those businesses who have attended for the time and effort they have invested. Throughout our Strategic Economic Planning process, we have been keen to engage with the private sector and today’s event has provided us with the latest opportunity to do just that. We will continue to engage with the private sector, and indeed our partners in the public and not-for-profit sector, until the submission date of 31st March. We are also very conscious of the need for their continuing support as our ambitious plans for Worcestershire come to fruition in the forthcoming years.”