First published in the Worcester News on 27.01.2017
I was delighted to welcome the business Minister Margot James MP back to the county earlier this week to open the North Worcestershire Engineering Centre of Excellence in Redditch. Worcestershire LEP has invested £350,000 of Government’s Growth Deal Funds into the educational facility, to continue to provide the manufacturing skills needed for future business growth. Our previous meeting with Margot and local businesses at the Malvern Hills Science Park highlighted the importance of skills and apprenticeships for local businesses and it was therefore great to open the Engineering Centre of Excellence, which is set to train up to 200 young apprentices over the next 4 years. The Government’s Industrial Strategy also highlighted the importance of skills in growing the local and national economy and we will continue to support skills development in the county.
I would like to remind local businesses that just over £1.3m of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is available to protect the environment and promote resource efficiency. I would encourage interested businesses with innovative proposals for Worcestershire’s environmental sustainability to apply for this funding before the 17 February 2017 deadline. For further information on this ERDF fund, visit the Worcestershire LEP website, www.wlep.co.uk
The ERDF Sustainability Fund is just one of a range of European Union funds available in Worcestershire and we are hosting a number of workshops to provide more information on these funds. The ‘Pie and Pint’ workshops, will take place during February and March to help businesses in more rural locations to understand the funding streams suitable for their companies. This is a fantastic opportunity for companies to discuss their own ideas and plans with experts who will be on hand to offer details of available funding streams appropriate to their business model, as well as provide details of the support on offer to help them in their bids. I would encourage interested businesses to register for the workshops via our website, www.wlep.co.uk.