Welcome from Councillor Izzi Seccombe
Hello and welcome to the July edition of Warwickshire Means Business.
I hope that you are having a good and prosperous summer. It is very encouraging that, in many cases, that appears to be so, judging by the results of the latest regional Quarterly Economic Survey.
Our Head of Economy & Skills, Dave Ayton-Hill reflects upon the survey in greater detail in his Economic Outlook in this edition of WMB and it is great to hear his view that Warwickshire's economy remains "strong and buoyant."
The survey reveals that our manufacturing sector, in particular, is thriving with business confidence among manufacturers across Coventry and Warwickshire at 82.9% – up 6.9% on the first quarter of 2017. Excellent news.
Here at Warwickshire County Council we are involved in many projects to help ensure that economy remains buoyant and it was very pleasing to see the council last week receive the Federation of Small Businesses regional award for best all-round small business friendly local authority. It is the fourth time in five years we have received this accolade and it is deserved recognition for all the skill, commitment and hard work of our staff on behalf of the county's business community.
While it is great to see many major global companies eager to locate to, or expand in, Warwickshire, small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. It is always heartwarming to see a small business take flight and grow and many are doing that with the support of our Business Ready programme, delivered by the University of Warwick Science Park, as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, part-funded by ourselves and the European Regional Development Fund.
Essential to the ongoing prosperity of the region is a pipeline of young talented people into business and a smooth pathway for them into employment. That is why we created our Employability Charter and it is wonderful to see that more than 60 firms, large and small, have now been awarded the Charter. Awarded to businesses which encourage and facilitate employability skills among young people, The Employability Charter is part of our £2.4 million Skills for Employment programme designed to improve the attributes of young people so that businesses can recruit more readily to address skills gaps.
Please do also have a look at our article on the Accelerate programme, which is an excellent project designed to bring young people into employment.
Meanwhile, Warwickshire County Council was well-represented at the recent Railtex event which was held to showcase the region's rail sector to visitors from around the world. We were among the Midlands Engine partners who hosted the very well-attended show at the NEC Birmingham.
With HS2 and other projects coming down the track, the rail sector has an exciting future, laden with business opportunities, and Warwickshire is well-placed to exploit those opportunities due to our depth of engineering and technical skills, honed by years of sustained investment in training and development.
Integral to success in any field, business or otherwise, of course, is looking and planning ahead - and in that area, as in so many, Warwickshire's brilliant business community is ahead of the game.