The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP) has today announced that it is on track or exceeding its current long-term goals for the County’s economy.
In its 2012/3 Business Plan, the WLEP set ambitious targets to be achieved over the coming years and today (3 February 2015) has announced that Worcestershire has either already exceeded these targets or is on track to achieve them ahead of the target deadline.
Progress against these is outlined below:
- Increase jobs by 5% by 2015: From June 2011 to September 2014, Worcestershire has seen an increase of over 8% in employment levels which compares favourably with a 4.7% increase in the West Midlands generally and 4.8% across England.
- 10,000 apprenticeship places by 2015: During 2013/14 more than 10,000 people actively participated in an apprenticeship programme which is more than four times the number in 2011. Last year (2013/14) the number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships in Worcestershire also grew by almost 12%. The WLEP and partner organisations continue to work to increase opportunities to develop skills for young people.
- £750m private sector investment by 2017: Between 2012 and the end of 2014, at least £600m of private sector investment has been made through a number of schemes, for example: new development adjacent to Worcestershire County Cricket Club by Premier Inn, the new UK distribution centre for Vax at Droitwich, investment by Thorlux, Redditch in a new warehouse and distribution centre, and Evesham Vale Growers’ two anaerobic digester plants and a solar park at its sites in Fladbury and Throckmorton. At least a further £200m is already committed to be invested before December 2017 on major projects including Worcester Technology Park and Redditch Eastern Gateway. Further work continues to take place to encourage additional investment in Worcestershire as the County is promoted regionally, nationally and internationally as a world class place to do business.
- Grow Gross Value Added (GVA) by £2.9bn by 2025: GVA is a measure of the productive power of the county in terms of the value and quality of products and services. The GVA is showing improvement with the latest statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (2013) showing an increase of £1.2bn (12.1%) from £9.4bn in 2010 to stand at £10.6bn in 2013. This compares to an increase of 10% across the West Midlands and 9.3% across England during the same period.
This announcement comes following Regional Growth Week where the extension to the Growth Deal has been announced by Government. This will see the Worcestershire LEP receive a further allocation of £7.2m in addition to the £47m already agreed. The additional funding alone will further promote business growth, create and safeguard an estimated 400-500 jobs and leverage £15-25m from the public and private sectors as well as further improve skills by 2020.
Peter Pawsey, Executive Chairman of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “In 2012, we set ambitious targets to benefit the long term economy of the County. I am pleased to say that during 2013/4 we exceeded our target for 10,000 people participating in apprenticeship places. We also saw impressive growth in the number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship opportunities and excellence was recognised at Worcestershire’s first Annual Apprenticeship Awards in November last year.
“Worcestershire has also seen a significant increase in employment levels with 21,900 more people employed in September 2014 than June 2011.”
“We have also witnessed significant business investment in the County – with at least £600m of private sector investment secured since 2012 contributing to a £1.2bn increase in GVA – well ahead of planned progress towards our target of a £2.9bn increase by 2025.”
“Whilst a lot has been done since the Worcestershire LEP formed in early 2011, there is still much to do and massive further potential across the County. We will continue to work with businesses and partner organisations for the long term prosperity of Worcestershire, raising its profile regionally, nationally and internationally as a world class place to do business.”
The Worcestershire LEP Business Plan with targets for the next four years is currently being drafted and consultation will take place with businesses during March 2015.
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