People & Skills Projects - 04 December 2015

Launch fires up the Midlands Engine

A ‘Midlands Engine’ Prospectus – setting out how 300,000 jobs and £34billion worth of growth could be achieved in the next 15 years – has been launched this morning (December 4).

Business Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured left) and Minister for Local Government, Marcus Jones, were at the University of Birmingham’s Edgbaston Campus for the official launch of the ‘Midlands Engine’ plan.

The initiative, to make the Midlands an engine for growth for the UK economy, is being backed by business, local authorities, 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships – including the D2N2 LEP – education providers, community groups and others.

The Prospectus’ overarching ambitions are to grow the region’s economy, creating 300,000 jobs and boosting the national economy by £34billion. The Prospectus will be used to complete a more comprehensive analysis of the Midlands Engine economy, to update its aims and objectives, and develop a productivity improvement plan.

Government is backing the initiative with a £5million trade and investment package; to help promote the Midlands Engine overseas, reach new markets and boost exports.

Key to developing the Prospectus has been the region’s 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships coming together to boost productivity, attract inward investment, increase connectivity and build a regional tourism offer.

The new Prospectus focuses on five key themes:

Trade and investment –

  • Undertaking the first Midlands Engine trade mission and hosting the first senior Midlands Engine inward investment visit.
  • Presenting a selection of Midlands Engine regeneration projects seeking investment, at the MIPIM 2016 property convention (the annual global property event held in Cannes, France).
  • Building a regional business visitor and tourism offer.

Transport –

  • Developing the vision and strategy for transforming transport connectivity across the Midlands Engine region through Midlands Connect, the cross-region group – which the D2N2 LEP is a part of – now working towards better integrated transport systems across the Midlands.

Research and innovation

  • Evolving Phase 2 of the Midlands Innovation-led Energy Research Accelerator; the partnership between Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick universities, and the British Geological Survey, conducting research into thermal, integrated systems and geo energy. It is receiving £60m from the Government and Mr Javid was due to open part of the Energy Research Accelerator at the University of Birmingham today. There is also a pipeline of similar propositions, including a likely agri-food sector proposition
  • Building a stronger network of regional science parks, as well as a higher education forum.

Business support –

  • Developing a region-wide ‘fund of funds’, utilising the European Union’s Joint European Resource for Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE) programme, supporting small and medium enterprise growth ambitions in the region. This fund will deliver access to finance solutions on a larger scale and ambition than before.

Skills –

  • Developing a more comprehensive, demand-led approach for skills development in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, based on increased provider collaboration and alignment.
  • Undertaking a review of best practice relating to employment and skills. This will be used to accelerate the take up of new and innovative ideas.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who will lead the first Midlands Engine trade mission next year to promote the region to investors and trade partners, said today: “The Midlands is the heartland of our thriving manufacturing sector and home to 25 universities, playing a strong role in the recovery of the UK economy. Over the last year, private sector employment in the Midlands grew more than three times faster than London and the South East.

“But there are more opportunities to capitalise on the Midlands’ natural strengths and assets and make it an engine for growth. Through this Prospectus, which sets out the region’s own vision to unlock greater economic growth, it’s time to fire up the Midlands Engine.

“I commend the leadership shown by the Midlands’ Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities and others, to come together and pool resources to work towards the shared goal of greater growth for the whole region.”

Communities Minister Marcus Jones added: “As part of our long term economic plan the Midlands’ economy has the potential to grow by £34 billion by 2030 and by the end of this Parliament there could be as many as 300,000 extra jobs.

“Building on the strengths that we already have, with world-beating companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce and JCB, the Midlands Engine will create the opportunities for businesses to grow and thrive.”

David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership – who was at this morning’s event in Birmingham – said: “We have a unique opportunity through the Midlands Engine to strengthen the links between business, the public sector and universities.

“The region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships, including D2N2, will be vital to this; helping to boost productivity and add value to the UK economy.”

For more information about the Midlands Engine launch see the announcement on the Gov.UK website HERE.

Further information about the work of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership can be found at its website at www.d2n2lep.org/Home

Media wanting further information about the work of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership can contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or email:sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org

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