First published in the Worcester News on 16.12.2016
In the last year at WLEP, we have seen huge progress with the programmes being funded by the Government’s Growth Deal to improve skills, infrastructure and build new homes.
Growth Deal programmes are already helping to improve road and railway networks across the County, for example, contributing to the development of the new Worcestershire Parkway Station, Southern Link Road improvements and flood alleviation programmes in key congestion hotspots. Hoobrook Link Road developments are improving access to South Kidderminster Enterprise Park and Pershore Lane enhancements are providing access to Worcester Six, a site which when complete will bring 5,000 new jobs.
Existing Growth Deal finance is also further developing skills with five skills capital programmes that include investment in a new £1.5m facility for up to 200 extra engineering apprentice engineers in Redditch, as well contributing to the extension of the Superfast Broadband roll-out so that 95% of premises will be able to access the technology by Autumn 2017.
We now await details of our ambitious bid for further Growth Deal funding which will help us further to deliver the vision for Worcestershire of developing a connected, creative, dynamic economy that delivers increased prosperity for all.
We are also progressing the EU programme that the WLEP is responsible for and I would encourage local organisations to apply for a share of four different European Social Fund (ESF) funding streams before 15 January 2017 deadline as a total of £3.5m is currently available which will help to develop skills, improve employment opportunities and promote social inclusion.
For more information on the work of the LEP, the Growth Deal and European Union Funding, please do visit our website, www.wlep.co.uk. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.