Friday, 11 October 2013

Thoughts from the LEP conference 2



So a quick review of the LEP conference today at Worcester Sixways, some great thoughts and ideas on how to improve the structural positioning of Worcestershire and how we can be involved.

Awesome overview on employment and skills especially apprenticeships from Karl at Thermo Bosch Group, I am a huge fan of this and can see real value especially where companies have significant long term contractors in the business that they could add real value by training apprenticeships up.  Great target of 10,000 by Karl and his team and well on the way to achieving it. If you are a business in Worcestershire, you should sign up for this!

Lots on younger people and skilling them up,I thought the focus on linking schools with businesses up was a really strong innovation and added real value, especially as it would help drive our youth to make proper career choices rather than blindly following a education route. I wanted to question on what the strategy for older people who need to reskill especially given the demographic in Worcestershire.

For more information on the 'Connecting Schools and Business Programme' and Apprenticeships then email enquiries@wlep.co.uk

A new service - Tweetups's, using twitter to organise meetings in the interval worked for me but not sure about others, but well done OGL computing Maybe put the WIFI password in the main room as well though as quite a few of us had to get it at the break.

Overall, I thought the LEP was going in right direction, I was shocked to hear about lack of inward investment capability,they have made a great start especially around the video and a brochure but needs significant work and ambition, I do think this is a key role for the LEP and needs to be in conjunction with the economic development arms of the various councils, but knowing how focused that Birmingham, Manchester and other cities are, while we will probably never punch at that level we should do more.

Finance - Not another one, how many more portals are there for SME's to find finance? I did have a great thought that we should look to follow the example of the Oxygen Accelerator model in Birmingham and start to attract innovative startups through new funding models though. If we focused this onto particular sectors such as food, green technology and cyber security we could really build some depth and strength there.

Brilliant examples of turnaround from Brintons and Holywell Malvern, especially the move to export internationally.

I did think that compared to what used to be the RDA, a little surprised at the lack of money they are being given!

Good strategy around clusters and sectors for the region and very true that while we need to work with our surrounding LEPs, they are really in competition with us for the same funds and workforces.

A good conference, and great to see Worcestershire finally uniting Business and government to drive the area forward, I look forward to next year and seeing what progress is made.


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