The West of England is an economically successful region where businesses start, grow and thrive.
WECA and the Local Enterprise Partnership are working with Government to develop a Local Industrial Strategy to deliver on our region’s ambition to be a driving force for clean and inclusive growth. This is an important opportunity for the West of England, and we are working with the business community to ensure that the strategy reflects the views and priorities of businesses.
The strategy will build on the unique strengths of the West of England:
- An attractive place to live and work;
- Strong connections by road, rail, air and sea.
- Diverse economy offering a wide variety of job opportunities at all skill levels.
Our economy is driven by a wide range of industries, from aerospace to advanced manufacturing, creative to robotics, finance to food. This diverse activity, coupled with the geographical size of the region, encourages interaction between sectors. It is the collaboration between these industries that makes our region unique. The relationship between traditional industries and our creative, digital and tech industries means that the West of England is driving innovation across the UK and across the world.
Over the next year, WECA will work alongside the LEP to build on existing relationships with the business community, to help us better understand how we can drive economic growth. By engaging with partners, we will develop a strategy that will maximise opportunities for the region.
We are hosting a series of workshops to cover the four grand challenges as identified in the Government’s Industrial Strategy; AI and big data, ageing population, future mobility and clean growth. We are encouraging genuinely open discussion with local businesses in order to inform our work on the Local Industrial Strategy.
Our operating framework sets out our priorities and forms the basis of WECA’s annual business plan for 2018/19. It will inform our regional response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
The framework identifies three priority areas for this year:
- Infrastructure fit for the future;
- World class skills; and
- Businesses that succeed
The framework takes on board the feedback we received on our 2017 West of England strategy discussion paper, which was jointly authored by WECA and the LEP and developed in partnership with constituent councils, business, universities and others.
Our key activities
Our business plan sets out the key activities that WECA will deliver over the 2018/19 period. It includes plans to bring further investment into transport, homes and skills to ensure the West of England is at the forefront of growth and innovation, where economic, cultural and environmental diversity is celebrated and forms the foundations of prosperity for all.
It is structured around the three strategic aims identified in the operating framework. The plan is focused on next year, however it contains some reference to activity that we are already committed to in the coming years.