Welcome from Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council

Hello and welcome to the November edition of Warwickshire Means Business.

At Warwickshire County Council we are very proud of the support we provide to the business community through our Economy & Skills team and I was delighted to see some of the fruits of that work recently at an event at Old Shire Hall.

In the last three years the county council's Capital Growth Fund has awarded small capital grants totalling £1.34 million to businesses, enabling them to invest in facilities, equipment and skills while creating jobs. This funding has led to the creation of 104 jobs and unlocked a further £2.7 million of private sector investment in Warwickshire's economy.

All good news - but what was also great to hear at the event was how the value of support offered by Dave Ayton-Hill's Economy & Skills team far transcends finance. The team has a broad range of expertise, whether it is offering advice on recruitment, skills, marketing, exploiting social media, finding premises, building a business plan or just signposting the offers of our partner organisations.

It was heartwarming to hear how many businesses have benefited from their input. Please do visit our Invest Warwickshire website to see how they can help you.

Among the sectors in which the Coventry & Warwickshire region leads is that of driverless and electric vehicle technology and last week brought a very exciting development. Following on from our very successful GreenFleet Ultra-low Emission (ULEV) event at Stoneleigh comes the news that Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre will be based in Wellesbourne at the University of Warwick campus.

The Centre is expected to play a significant role in transforming the future of UK transport. That it will be located at Wellesbourne is a huge tribute to our region's credentials in this sector and will ensure that Warwickshire remains at the heart of that transformation.

Also in this edition of Warwickshire Means Business, we take a look at two pieces of excellent news for Nuneaton with the advance of the Transforming Nuneaton programme and the opening of a new Pet-XI Skills Hub in the town centre.

We also report on Prince Edward's recent visit to the county to cast an approving eye over a project at Campion School, funded by our Skills for Employment programme. Meanwhile, there is a chance for you to help shape the thinking of policy-makers by taking part in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey. Please do complete the survey - it will only take five minutes to make your views heard.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Warwickshire Means Business. As this is my last 'Welcome' of 2018, may I wish you all a very happy Christmas and prosperous 2019!

Featured News

Strong relationship between Warwickshire and Coventry is platform for region's prosperity

"The relationship between Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and the LEP is the strongest it has ever been and that gives us a brilliant platform for further growth."

Warwickshire County Council chief executive (designate) Monica Fogarty has pinpointed the "strongest ever" relationship between Warwickshire and Coventry as crucial to the ongoing prosperity of the region.

Speaking at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s annual economic conference last week, Ms Fogarty and Coventry City Council chief executive Martin Reeves stressed their belief that working together is very much the way forward. 

That policy of co-operation is already paying dividends, having contributed to the buoyant state of the region's economy. Since the recession, Warwickshire has enjoyed the fastest productivity growth of all local authorities in England, driven not least by high levels of Foreign Direct Investment.

The councils' relationship is the foundation stone for an exciting and prosperous future for the region, despite the inevitable uncertainty surrounding Brexit, believes Ms Fogarty.

"Brexit is a totally unknown quantity in terms of what it will mean for us and, nationally, there are lots of pressures on the economy," she said. "But what we do know from talking to businesses across Warwickshire and Coventry is that our economy is thriving. That is great news - and it is not an accident. It is the result of a lot of hard work between ourselves and Coventry City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

"The relationship between Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and the LEP is the strongest it has ever been and that gives us a brilliant platform for further growth. We have a lot to be confident about in the future.

"It is no longer about forming a relationship between the councils, it is about preserving the strong relationship we now have and strengthening it even further. Whatever is good for Coventry is good for Warwickshire and vice-versa. It's not about competing to attract businesses to one patch or another, it's about bringing investment into the region as whole.

"Geographically and as an economy we are a coherent unit, so there is no sense whatsoever in focusing on Warwickshire alone or Coventry alone. The focus has to be on that unit. That is what is happening and what is enabling us to do so well."

Ms Fogarty and Mr Reeves were among the speakers at last week's conference, an event which Ms Fogarty felt was a superb showcase for the region's buoyant and diverse business community.

"It was a great conference," she said. "There was a really broad range of speakers with an excellent focus on skills and further education and a couple of panels that were highly informative with lots of engagement from the audience.

"Maggie Philbin gave a fantastic address on Teentech and how we can stimulate the interest of teenagers in technology and translate the ideas and creativity of young people into careers in Tech. I would love for us to host a Teentech event in our region soon as it would fit perfectly with the work with schools that we do through our Skills for Employment programme.

"Such a good mix of delegates at the conference meant that there was a national and regional context and then Martin and I spoke about how the economy is working in Coventry and Warwickshire.

"With so many businesses in the room it was great to be able to give them such positive messages about the strength of the  economy because, while we are doing all we can to support them, it is those businesses' quality, innovation, diversity and hard work that underpins that strength."

Wellesbourne research centre will bring huge boost to Warwickshire's economy

"This is a huge boost to the local economy and employment opportunities and further proof that Warwickshire is on the map for major high-tech companies looking to develop their businesses."

Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre, based at the University of Warwick's Wellesbourne campus, will bring a "huge boost to the local economy" - and assure Warwickshire's place at the heart of the UK high-tech sector far into the future.

A partnership of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has chosen the University of Warwick's site in Wellesbourne for the Research and Development of its Smart City Mobility Centre.

The centre, combining the research expertise of WMG with JLR's engineering ability, will prototype structures that will enable driverless cars and revolutionise transport in the UK. Further work will be undertaken at the University of Warwick's campus where driverless vehicles will be tested.

Warwickshire County Council's deputy leader Cllr Peter Butlin said: "Everyone in Warwickshire should delight in this wonderful news. It will give a huge boost to the local economy and employment opportunities and is further proof that Warwickshire is on the map for major high-tech companies looking to develop their businesses.

"The local universities provide a wealth of talent and we, at the council, are working hard to align business requirement with a workforce that has the skills to match.

"It is also very encouraging for Warwickshire that such high-profile, high-tech enterprises are starting up or expanding here. Everybody at Warwickshire County Council wishes the new centre at Wellesbourne the very best with its work."

Researchers from WMG and JLR will work together at Wellesbourne to design and engineer vehicles which will be tested in real world conditions alongside a specially designed 5G communications network on the University of Warwick’s main campus.

As the centre develops, it is expected to play a significant role in transforming the future of UK transport. The new Smart City Mobility Centre will also draw on:

  • Expertise in battery technology which will be developed by the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre which will also be located in Coventry and Warwickshire
  • The new £20million UK Mobility Data Institute, to be established by WMG in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to collect, process and analyse transport data generated by the advent of new mobility technologies such as driverless capable vehicles and smart charging of electrified vehicles.
  • The WMCA development of a multi-city 5G test bed.

Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Professor Dr Ralf Speth said: Jaguar Land Rover welcomes the centre, based at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, which builds on collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover, WMG, the University of Warwick and government to develop 5G connectivity in the region. This is critical for new mobility solutions and services that will transform customer experiences in the future and make congestion, traffic accidents and emissions a thing of the past.

“We look forward to this industry-leading project which will develop future prototypes that put the UK at the forefront of automotive technology.”

WMG chairman Professor Lord Bhattacharyya said: “This is the first time in any country that such a comprehensive system is being designed and tested. This will help integrate plans for transport systems for the future that have the potential to bring significant economic benefits to transform and improve the lives of a great many people who could benefit from even safer, less congested, and more environmentally sustainable transport.”


£7.5 million funding for the Transforming Nuneaton programme

"We have very high ambitions for the town. The work that is about to start will do a great deal to create a vibrant, modern atmosphere that is welcoming, making it a great place to visit and do business.”

A major scheme to transform Nuneaton town centre and boost economic growth and jobs has been given the green light.

Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council are working together in partnership to deliver the Transforming Nuneaton Programme to create a vibrant, attractive and prosperous town.

The forward-thinking scheme has now received £7.5 million of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to kickstart the programme of transformation.

This funding package will focus on the development of Vicarage Street and the area around the railway station, creating a modern, high-quality and vibrant gateway to Nuneaton. Other key developments include Horiba MIRA Technology Park and the growth of Bermuda Park employment site.

The plans also involve improving the use of public space in Nuneaton town centre and investing in the road, rail and transport infrastructure to improve connectivity in the North/South corridor.

In addition, flood protection will be improved in the town centre to protect businesses and more sites will be opened for other uses including housing schemes.

The overall vision for the town has been encapsulated within an outline concept plan which is being shared with businesses and developers as part of the councils' engagement process. Feedback from the commercial sector and other stakeholders will allow the plan to be refined and developed with the aim of encouraging future investment.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and portfolio holder for economic development, said: “The county council is committed to working with our partners towards the development of Nuneaton town centre. This £7.5million funding will act as a catalyst to attracting private sector investment to the town. 

"We have very high ambitions for the town. The work that is about to start will do a great deal to create a vibrant, modern atmosphere that is welcoming, making it a great place to visit and do business.”

Cllr Julie Jackson, Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “We are absolutely clear on our vision for Nuneaton and have put in place plans to make that vision a reality. The Transforming Nuneaton programme sets out how we will grow the town centre economy and transform our town to attract greater investment, further improving the quality of life for our residents.

“Nuneaton is ambitious, innovative and open for business; we want to demonstrate high quality, vibrancy and creativity at every level, we want to inspire people with our plans and I think that we’ve made a very good start by attracting such a major cash injection.”

Jonathan Browning, Chair of the CWLEP, said unlocking key development sites within Nuneaton town centre would transform the area.

He said: “Investing in Nuneaton town centre will support economic growth within the town and the wider area. Creating high-quality easily accessible housing in the town centre along with diverse leisure opportunities would boost footfall to the town centre and increase the number of people working there.

“These regeneration plans involve creating the infrastructure for Nuneaton to thrive and supporting the growth of existing businesses as well as improving its potential to attract developers and investors in the future.”

For the latest news on the Transforming Nuneaton programme, please go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/transformingnuneaton and follow @NBBCouncil and @Warwickshire_CC on Twitter.

Prince Edward sees Skills for Employment in action

A Skills for Employment project at Campion School in Leamington Spa came under the approving eye of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, when he visited as part of his role in support of the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme.

Year 10 pupils on the programme at the school spoke very enthusiastically to the royal visitor about the experiences and life skills they are gaining.

The prince then visited a workshop where a group of 15 Year Nine boys and girls were laying bricks and skimming plasterboard as part of a £40,000 project funded by Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment programme.

Delivered in partnership with Deeley Construction, the project provides hands-on experience of various skills required in the construction industry, including carpentry and drawing up plans. The prince spoke to the council's Skills for Employment manager Glenn Robinson and was very interested to hear that the project was one of 40 funded by the council in the last three years as part of its aim to ensure that every school-leaving pupil moves on to a positive destination in education, training or employment.

"The Skills for Employment project at Campion School is proving a great success thanks to the commitment of the school, the support of Deeley Construction and, of course, the excellent efforts of the boys and girls themselves," said Mr Robinson.

"It was fantastic that the prince paid a visit. He is a great advocate and supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme and it was clear that he really engaged with, and was impressed by, what is going on at Campion."

The prince's visit started at the Real Tennis Club in Leamington Spa where he played a game as part of his year-long tour of all Real Tennis venues to inspire young people to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

For more information on the Skills for Employment programme please contact glennrobinson@warwickshire.gov.uk

Perdix expands its role in protection of endangered species worldwide

"The ongoing support and advice I have received has been invaluable"

Equipment supplied by a small business in Warwickshire is being deployed across the world in the quest to protect endangered species.

For ten years, Perdix Wildlife Solutions Ltd, based at Hatton Rock near Warwick, has been involved in a pioneering project to reintroduce native grey partridges to farmland across the UK and Europe where they have gone locally extinct due to habitat-loss.

But while that project remains ongoing, the last 18 months have seen the reputation and reach of the company, formed by wildlife scientist Dr David Butler, increase significantly. Now, under the trading name Perdix Wildlife Supplies, the company supplies equipment to clients including national parks, research organisations, universities and zoos from the USA to South Africa.

That's quite an achievement for a small business which, until June 2018, worked out of a virtual office at the Rural innovation Centre, Stoneleigh, with all employees working from home. Clearly, the business itself had to grow to accommodate increasing demand - and it is growing, with support from Warwickshire County Council.

A £20,000 small capital grant enabled Perdix to acquire and equip new premises while equally important, according to Dr Butler, has been the business advice which accompanied the funding.

The scientist possessed all the required expertise in his field but was much less conversant with how to make a business grow. That's when the council's business support advisor Jagdish Soor came in.

"As a scientist I've always been a great believer in asking experts for advice," said Dr Butler. "I knew I needed to take the business to the next level but didn't know how go about it.

"The grant was very important as having our own premises gives us more warehouse capacity and office space and an increased product-viewing area and allows us to pursue the educational side of the business. But alongside that the ongoing support and advice I have received has been invaluable.

"This business is quite niche and I thought it would be difficult for someone not in this field to really understand the challenges, but straight away Jag just 'got it.' He spotted what the business needed and pointed us in the right directions, some of which I didn't know existed.

"Jag's guidance has been crucial. He tightened up the business and really made me focus on where I want it to go. It has much more direction now - before, I was enjoying it too much!"

The expansion will enable Perdix to increase its workforce as it supplies equipment, including wildlife cameras, trackers and feeders, to organisations engaged in the global mission to protect the planet. Much of the equipment is researched and designed by Perdix and then manufactured locally.

Jagdish Soor said: "David clearly has the skills and knowledge to underpin a successful business. His expertise and sense of vocation were crystal clear from the moment I met him. What he needed was some support and advice about the bread-and-butter of running of business, like having a strong, robust marketing plan.

"I have introduced him to Anita Dinnes of BCSL Consulting who is helping him with that and they have made a lot of progress. That is a big part of what we do as a business unit at Warwickshire County Council. It is not just 'here's a grant, now get on with it'. It is paramount that the business also receives ongoing advice and support."

* The advice for the company was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. 

  • To find out more about the range of support available to grow your business, please contact the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.



Students in Rugby benefit from Skills for Employment grant

A barrier to growth for one of the biggest employment sectors in Rugby is being overcome thanks to a £39,100 grant from Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment programme.

The shortage of training provision for the logistics industry, which supports 23,700 jobs in Warwickshire, was raised by Karen Shuter, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Rugby branch at a committee meeting.

Following that meeting, Warwickshire College Group (WCG), Warwickshire County Council, the Chamber and Rugby MP Mark Pawsey pulled together a plan of action to help tackle the issue.

Karen and WCG Rugby College campus applied for a Skills Challenge grant from Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment programme. The application was successful and has paved the way for the creation of a new logistics learning hub at the campus.

Business Studies students who began their courses in September now have logistics as part of their course as a pilot project. In January, the first learners from small and medium-sized businesses in the sector will be enrolled onto industry-led level 2 & 3 Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport qualifications.

The hub will also provide a series of work experience opportunities as well as a brand new Logistics Office Simulation Facility.

Glenn Robinson, Skills for Employment manager for Warwickshire County Council, said: “The council is delighted to support development of the hub as the logistics sector is of huge importance to the county.

“I have visited the hub and seen what a professional environment it provides. Hopefully, many of the students who will learn there go on to secure jobs in logistics."

Karen Shuter said: “I am absolutely thrilled that this opportunity is now available to learners here in Rugby. When you consider how important the sector is to the town, the surrounding borough and the county, it was difficult to believe there was no provision.

“I raised the issue when the Chamber was running its initial Go For Growth campaign because it was looking at some of the barriers to growth. It is fitting, therefore, that the new Go For Growth: Trade Local campaign has just been launched and we have this fantastic success story to shout about.”

Neil Coker, group vice-principal (curriculum) at WCG, said: “As an organisation we pride ourselves on the extent to which we work with local and regional employers and industry sectors. The logistics hub is another example of where we have worked in partnership to support skills needs in the area and link our student body with future job opportunities.

"The aim is that the logistics hub provides students with an introduction to highly-rewarding jobs and careers in this sector that they had previously not considered. The sector needs well-trained, confident and well-educated young people and our students are the solution to future skills needs in transport management and logistics."

WCG is approved to deliver CILT Level 2 & 3 in Logistics & Transport. Interested parties can contact Charley Duxbury, Logistics Project Manager on: cduxbury@warwickshire.ac.uk or 07740419331 for more information. Enrolment is on November 27 with a start date of January 10, 2019.

The Quarterly Economic Survey - YOUR chance to influence the policy-makers...

Businesses of all sizes and all sectors in the Coventry & Warwickshire region are being urged to take part in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey.

The survey is undertaken locally by the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Warwickshire County Council (who sponsor the survey and undertake the analysis of the results).

All the responses from our region will be fed into the national British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey, which is the largest independent business survey in the UK and a significant contributor to economic intelligence. 

By taking part in the survey, each individual company will help to communicate the business community’s views on a wide range of issues that affect day-to-day activities - and subsequently have a real influence upon policy makers on the regional and national stage.

QES data is used by the Bank of England to inform interest rate decisions, by the Treasury to formulate overall economic policy through the budget and by international finance institutions to assess the state of the UK economy.

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Policy Officer Sean Rose said: "The voice of every single business which takes part in the survey is a critical component of the QES, so we have made it as easy as possible for businesses to make their views heard.

"To take part in the survey, simply click on the link below. It only takes a few minutes to complete and you will be making a significant contribution to the UK’s economic policy decisions."


A copy of the latest Coventry & Warwickshire results can be found at: https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/about-us/policy/quarterly-economic-survey-current/ 


New Skills Hub for Nuneaton town centre

A new Skills Hub in Nuneaton has officially opened in a converted former pub in Abbey Street.

PET-Xi Training has launched its Skills Hub in the former Pig & Whistle in the town centre to make it easier for local people to access support to secure employment and better-paid jobs.

PET-Xi Training will run its Positive Futures and Employment Support schemes, co-funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority, the European Social Fund, Warwickshire County Council and PET-Xi, from its new location to reach its target of helping over 1,000 people find work or secure a place at college.

Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment programme is pumping £275,000 into the programme over three years.

Representatives from Skills for Employment, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Work and Pensions were among those who attended the official launch.

The PET-Xi vocational team will be working with employers, colleges and training providers to focus on young people, disabled people and other vulnerable groups through its specific job advice sessions and specialist support.

An ITQ suite has been installed to increase skills as part of the wider West Midlands Combined Authority Digital Strategy by teaching highly-employable IT skills in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and IT security.

Cllr Colin Hayfield, Portfolio Holder for Education and Learning at Warwickshire County Council, told those attending the official opening that this was a brilliant project by PET-Xi Training involving different partners.

He said: "As part of the county council's education and employment strategy, we have prioritised working with partners to tackle the issue of young people who are not in, or at risk of not being in, learning or employment. This Hub, in an area where there is a high proportion of young people at risk of not being in learning or employment, ties in with our strategy of providing services where they are most needed.

“This is an opportunity to raise expectations and increase confidence levels to encourage people to apply for jobs with the right support and training. I wish this project every success.”

Fleur Sexton, managing director of PET-Xi Training, which has its headquarters at the Westwood Business Park in Coventry, said that opening the new hub in Nuneaton was a fantastic opportunity to help more people.

“We want to help people regardless of their age to take the next step in their lives, whether that is a better-paid job, securing an apprenticeship or gaining a place at college by helping them to secure the skills they need.

“Opening the PET-Xi Skills Hub will make it easier to engage with local residents and to encourage the communities themselves to use their existing social networks to help spread the word about the opportunities and support there is available.”

High growth businesses celebrated at Old Shire Hall event

Businesses which have grown with support from Warwickshire County Council have received a ringing endorsement from Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chairman of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The achievements of the county’s small and medium-sized businesses were celebrated at the high profile networking event hosted by Warwickshire County Council in the historic Old Shire Hall building in Warwick.

In the last three years, small capital grants totalling £1.34 million have been awarded to businesses from Warwickshire County Council's Capital Growth Fund. This had enabled the businesses to invest in facilities, equipment and skills, at the same time creating jobs.

In total the money has led to the creation of 104 jobs and unlocked a further £2.7 million of private sector investment to boost the Warwickshire economy.

Mr Street was joined by Leader of Warwickshire County Council Cllr Izzi Seccombe and both delivered speeches congratulating the county’s business community on their successes. Also present were business leaders from across the county, including the council's managing director Monica Fogarty, assistant director (communities) Mark Ryder and head of the Economy and Skills team David Ayton-Hill.

Cllr Seccombe spoke to delegates about the importance of local businesses to the Warwickshire economy and underlined the county council’s support for small and medium-sized businesses.

Andy Street spoke of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s commitment to supporting the Warwickshire business community. Following their speeches both answered questions from the audience.

Delegates viewed a film in which ten beneficiaries explained how the fund has helped them grow.

The video included businesses such as Silson Ltd in Southam which manufacture a range of ultra-thin membranes used by universities and government-research facilities. Silson used the grant from Warwickshire County Council to purchase new equipment to make a new range of x-ray filters and improve the quality of their electrodes on their heater cells.

Also featured in the video was Pyments Law, a recent addition to Pyments - a quality surveyor firm - which specialises in construction law. The firm has been able to use the money to purchase a new piece of software, increasing efficiency and move to plush new offices in the site of a former coach house.

You can watch the video by clicking here.

Cycling event generates £2 million net spend by visitors to Warwickshire

The UK’s leading female professional cycling road race provided a major boost to Warwickshire's economy when it returned to the county for a record-breaking third year.

Official figures released from this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour show a very positive impact on the region.

More than 100,000 spectators, an increase on last year’s attendance, lined the streets in September to see many of the world’s top female cyclists compete in the third stage of the Women’s Tour.

Almost two thirds of those spectators - approximately 63,000 -  were visiting who travelled in from outside the Warwickshire borders to see the race. An estimated 2,000 travelled from overseas.

The event provided a big fillip for businesses with an incredible 42 per cent of the tour’s £2 million net spend (around £860,000) spent by cycling fans either in Atherstone, where the race started, or Royal Leamington Spa, where the stage finished.

Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe is delighted that the major event was again a success for the county.

“It’s the third year in a row that we have hosted a stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and we have seen a huge rise in attendance figures every year.

“That has had a tremendous economic impact for businesses.  As well as hosting a great event for the area, we do these kinds of things to benefit business owners.

“Now we have to capitalise on the success of the event and make sure we are encouraging people to the area and show them that we are a cycling hotspot with excellent routes available as well as first rate accommodation and restaurants, cafes and bars.”

How business can get into the rail supply chain...

Businesses interested in getting into the rail supply chain can learn all about accessing opportunities at an event in Nuneaton on Thursday November 29th

"Supply Train - Get On Track" (7.30-9.30am) at Eliot Park Innovation Centre, Nuneaton, will be hosted by Warwickshire County Council and rail industry partners as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival.

Full information and guidance will be given about the business support available for companies looking at moving into this area for the first time and also those which are already active but interested in finding out more.

The event is supported by the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the Rail Alliance and Rail Forum Midlands.

Birmingham University Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education (BCRRE) will be there to talk about their new Digi-Rail business support programme for the rail sector. Coventry University will also talk about their National Transport Design Centre and the work they are doing in rail while the event will also include local SMEs talking about their experience in rail.  

A limited number of places are still available - to book a place visit: Get on Track – Rail Supply Chain



Special Feature

"Completing this apprenticeship opened my eyes"

In last month's Warwickshire Means Business we reported that Warwickshire County Council have recruited more than 200 apprentices since 2012, including almost 50 in the current financial year. Among them is Zoe Shephard who joined the council's Children's Social Care team full-time following an apprenticeship. Here she explains how the apprenticeship provided her with a perfect career-pathway.

Zoe, what is your educational background?

After secondary school I moved up to sixth form but soon felt that sixth form was not the choice for me. After a year, I spent a year at college studying aviation as I still wanted to be in some kind of education. I always thought about going to university but was actually put off by the idea when I attended sixth form. This is when I came across the apprenticeship option.

Did you always have an eye on social work as a potential career?

I always was interested in social work, however I never actually thought about it as a possible career. I always thought that I would have to finish sixth form and then continue to university to even get some kind of experience within social work, so as soon as I saw this apprenticeship, I had to apply! 

How did the apprenticeship at the county council come about?

My Mom found me the apprenticeship! She was looking on the Warwickshire County Council website whilst I was at college, as she knew that I wanted to do something different and that I wanted to stay in education. She thought an apprenticeship would benefit me, as I wanted to continue to learn whilst earning some money, as I was eighteen at this point. 

How long was the apprenticeship? What did it entail?

The apprenticeship was for 18 months and entailed shadowing and helping out social workers. This included home visits, minuting meetings, supervising family time, completing direct work with children, covering the duty system, completing life story work, helping with parenting assessments and working with parents and alongside different agencies and professionals.

I attended numerous training days which provided awareness around domestic abuse, children and family benefits, child trafficking and protective behaviours.

I also got to shadow different areas of the council, including the Youth Justice Centre, the Leaving Care Team and MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub).  

Children's Social Care is such important work. An apprenticeship gives you crucial insight into exactly what it entails?

Yes it does! Completing this apprenticeship opened my eyes and

expanded my knowledge about social work and my outlook on different situations. It has also made me want to complete the social work degree in the near future. 

You are now fully employed by the council so felt it was the right career for you?

Yes, I feel that the apprenticeship was right for me. It has given me so many possible opportunities for the future and I am really looking forward to progressing my role with Warwickshire Council. I feel that I was so lucky that this apprenticeship was available and I am very grateful to be given this opportunity. 

What would you say is the value of an apprenticeship? Would you recommend it?

The value of this apprenticeship I think must be the on-the-job experience you get as this helps you to apply the theory and knowledge behind it. This also enables you to observe a wider variety of potential problems which you would not have the opportunity to witness on an academic course.

I would 100% recommended this apprenticeship to anyone who is interested in social work, as this will literally give you the opportunity to experience front-line social work and the challenges and benefits that come with it, whilst working within a supporting and helping team. 


Your comprehensive guide to upcoming business events


Email marketing that works: Thu 22nd Nov, 09:30 - 16:00, Venture House Business Centre, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 0HR (£tbc) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/email-marketing-that-works-november-22nd-2018/

#FSBConnect Rugby Networking Breakfast 4th Friday: Fri 23rd Nov, 07:00-09:00, The Arnold House at Rugby, Elsee Road, Rugby, CV21 3BA (£5-10) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/fsbconnect-rugby-networking-breakfast-4th-friday-3

Accessing India: Fri 23rd Nov, 09:00 - 13:00, WMG, University of Warwick, CV4 7AL (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/accessing-india

Website Development for Beginners (Theory): Tues 27th Nov, 09:00-16:30, University of Wolverhampton, Telford Innovation Campus, Shifnal Road, Priorslee, Telford, TF2 9NT (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/website-development-for-beginners-theory-tickets-52205212195

Chamber Networking in Warwick: Tues 27th Nov, 08:00-10:00, Market Hall Museum Market Hall, Museum Market Place, Warwickshire, CV34 4SA (Free)  https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/chamber-networking-in-warwick/

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Why should you care? Tues 27th Nov, 13:30-17:30, Fanuc UK LTD, Sapphire Way, Ansty, Coventry, CV7 9DR (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/fourth-industrial-revolution-why-should-you-care

#Pioneer100: Celebrating the achievements of female pioneers, leaders and innovators: Wed 28th Nov, 09:00 - 12:30, Pageant House, Jury Street, Warwick. CV34 4ES (Free) https://cwbf2018.ticketleap.com/pionerr100-celebrating-the-achievements-of-female-pioneers-lead/details

Coventry & Warwickshire Speed Networking: Weds 28th Nov, 14:00-17:00, Ricoh Arena, Jimmy Hall Way, Coventry, West Midlands, CV6 6GE (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/coventry-warwickshire-speed-networking/

North Warwickshire’s Growing Economy: Weds 28th Nov, 07:30-10:00, BMW Plant Hams Hall, Canton Lane, Hams Hall, Coleshill, Warwickshire, B46 1GB (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/north-warwickshires-growing-economy/:

Put your Social Media House in order: Weds 28th Nov, 09:30-16:00, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Chamber House, Unit 8 & 9, Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, West Midlands, CV1 2T (TBC+VAT) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/put-your-social-media-house-in-order-28th-november-2018/

Success & Opportunities for Supporting Your Business: Weds 28th Nov, 07:30-10:30, One Friargate, Manor Road, Coventry, CV1 2GN (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/success-opportunities-supporting-your-business

Fully Funded Technology Supply Chain - Talk, Tour & Networking: Weds 28th Nov, 16:00-18:00, The Manufacturing Technology Centre, Pilot Way, Ansty, Coventry, CV7 9JU (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/fully-funded-technology-supply-chain-talk-tour-and-networking

Get on Track - Rail Supply Chain: Thurs 29th Nov, 7:30-9:30am, 4 Barling Way, Nuneaton, CV10 7RH (Free) https://cwbf2018.ticketleap.com/get-on-track-rail-supply-chain/

Who thought Insurance Could Make You Money!: Thurs 29th Nov, 15:00-17:00, NAEC Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, CV8 2LZ (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/who-thought-insurance-could-make-you-money

The Henley Hub: Thurs 29th Nov, 11:30-14:00, UBCUK, Henley-in-Arden, Forward House, 17 High Street, Henley-in-Arden, B95 5AA (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-henley-hub-tickets-51519330705?janus_fv=exp_eb_86972_related_events%3DA

Insolvency Conference: Thu 29th Nov, 12:00 - 16:30, Wright Hassall, Leamington Spa, CV34 6BF (Free) https://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/events/

Q4 Coventry Branch Meeting 2018: Fri 30th Nov, 08:00-09:30, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, House Unit 8 & 9, Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, West MIdlands, CV1 2TL (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/q4-coventry-branch-meeting-2018/

Energy Saving and Low Carbon Workshop: Fri 30th Nov, 09:00-13:00, Ramada Hotel, The Butts, Coventry, CV1 3GG (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/energy-saving-and-low-carbon-workshop-tickets-48327767654?aff=ebdssbdestsearch


South Warwickshire @ Parliament Day: Mon 3rd Dec, 16:00-18:00, Members Dining Room, Houses of Parliament (£600-1000) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=13406&prodID=87077

Warwickshire Parliament Day - Individual tickets: Mon 3rd Dec, 16:00-18:00, Houses of Parliament (£50)  http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=13406&prodID=87750

December meeting - Treasured possessions: Mon 3rd Dec, 19:00-22:00, Southam Community Church, Coventry Street, Southam, CV47 0EP (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/december-meeting-treasured-possessions-tickets-51749670658

YouTube Video Workshop: Tues 4th Dec, 09:00-16:30, Serious Games Institute (Floor 1) 6, Coventry Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, Coventry, CV1 2TL (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/youtube-video-workshop-tickets-52205380699

#FSBConnect Coventry First Wednesday Networking Breakfast: Weds 5th Dec, 07:00-08:45, Ramada Hotel & Suites, The Butts, Earlsdon, Coventry, CV1 3GG (£10) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/fsbconnect-coventry-first-wednesday-networking-breakfast-5

Wordpress your Business: Weds 5th Nov, 09:30-16:00, Althorpe Enterprise Hub, Althorpe Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 2GB (TBC + VAT) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/wordpress-your-business-december-5th-2018/

#FSBConnect Stratford ‘First Wednesday’: Weds 5th Dec, 18:00-20:00, El Greco, 27 Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6NE (TBC) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/fsbconnect-stratford-first-wednesday-4

The Warwickshire Virtual Assistant Network Forum: Weds 5th Dec, The Fat Pug, 6 Guys Cliffe Road, Leamington Spa, CV32  5DA (£10) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-warwickshire-virtual-assistant-network-forum-tickets-43269337754?janus_fv=exp_eb_86972_related_events%3DA

Agricultural Christmas Talk: Wed 5th Dec, 15:30 - 18:00, Oak Tree Rooms 1&2, Stoneleigh Park, CV8 2LZ (Free) https://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/events/2018/12/05/agricultural-christmas-talk/

Business Planning, The Lean Model Canvas: Thu 6th Dec, 08:30 - 16:00, Unit 6, Serious Games Institute, Coventry, CV1 2TL (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/business-planning-the-lean-model-canvas-tickets-49474653019

12@12 Professionals Lunch Stratford: Thurs 6th Dec, 12:00-14:00, El Greco (£12.50 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=6761&prodID=58686

Construction Sector Round Table: A Modern Industrial Strategy: Thurs 6th Dec, 12:00-14:30, The Manufacturing  Technology Centre Ltd, Pilot Way, Ansty Business Park, Coventry, West Midlands, CV7 9JU (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/construction-sector-round-table-a-modern-industrial-strategy/

Q4 Rugby Branch 2018: Thurs 6th Dec, 08:00-09:30, The Rugby Hotel, Sheep Street, Rugby None, CV21 3BX (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/q4-rugby-branch-2018/

MTC Opening Evening: Thurs 6th Dec, 17:00-19:30, Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC), Pilot Way, Ansty Park, Coventry, CV7 9JU (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/mtc-open-evening-1

Festive Meet Your Chamber: Fri 7th Dec, 11:30-14:00, Coombe Abbey Hotel, Brinklow Road, Coventry, Warwickshire, CV3 2AB (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/festive-meet-your-chamber/

Q4 South Branch - Meet your MP Nadhim Zahawi: Fri 7th Dec, 08:00-09:30, Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bridgefoot, Stratford-upon-avon, Warwickshire, : CV37 6YR (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/q4-south-warwickshire-branch-2018/

Cheltenham BIG Breakfast Meeting: Fri 7th Dec, Arrivals from 07:00, Cheltenham Town FC (£12.50 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=13439&prodID=87166

Raising Finance for Business: Mon 10th Dec, 09:00-12:30, Business Innovation Centre, Binley Business Park, Harry Weston Road, Coventry, CV3 2TX (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/raising-finance-for-business-registration-51451012363

35 under 35 evening: Mon 10th Dec, 17:00-19:00, Everyman Cinema, Stratford (£20 exc VAT @ 20%) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=6761&prodID=88051

Branding Workshop: Tues 11th Dec, 09:00-16:30, University of Wolverhampton Science Park, Glaisher Drive, Wolverhampton, WV10 9RU (Free) https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/branding-workshop-tickets-52205325534

Business Leader Festive Luncheon: Tues 11th Dec, 11:30-14:00, The Old Shire Hall, Northgate Street, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 4SP (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/business-leaders-festive-luncheon/

Selling Services Overseas Now & Post-Brexit: Tues 11th Dec, 09:00-10:30, Study Inn Group, 175 Corporation Street, Coventry None, CV1 1GU (£25.00 + VAT) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/selling-services-overseas-now-post-brexit/

Business Culture Workshops: Middle East: Thurs 11th Dec, 09:00-12:30, KPMG, 1 Snow Hill, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 6GH (Free) https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/event/business-culture-workshops-middle-east

Q4 North Warwickshire Branch 2018: Thurs 13th Dec, 08:30-10:00, Subcon Laser Cutting Ltd, Bermuda Road, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 7QG (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/q4-north-warwickshire-branch-2018/

Q4 Mid Branch - Meet your MP Jeremy Wright: Fri 14th Dec, 08:00-09:30, Holiday Inn Kenilworth, Warwick 212, Abbey End, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1ED (Free) https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/q4-mid-warwickshire-branch-2018/

A Review of the Economy in interesting times: Fri 14th Dec, 12:30 - 14:00, Wright Hassall, Leamington Spa, CV34 6BF (Free) https://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/events/

Stratford Business Forum: Fri 14th Dec, 07:00 - 09:00, the RSC Stratford, (£12.50+vat) http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=6760&prodID=58684


Interactive Futures 2019: Wed 31st Jan - Sat 2nd Feb, Leamington Spa (From £free) www.interactive-futures.com


C&W Business Festival: https://www.cwbusinessfestival.com/

Tech Central: http://techcentraluk.com/events.html

Business Ready: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/business-ready-12629314668

Coventry University Enterprises: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/cue-business-solutions-13651209205

C&W Chamber of Commerce: https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/

C&W Growth Hub: http://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/events

CW Champions: https://www.coventry-warwickshire.co.uk/events

Midlands Business Network: http://themidlandsbusinessnetwork.co.uk/events/

Leamington Hour: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/leamington-hour-7578817945

Stratford Business Forum: http://www.stratford-business-forum.co.uk/

Leamington Business Forum: http://www.leamington-business-forum.co.uk/

The Henley Hub: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-henley-hub-tickets-51519328699

Southam Business Forum: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/southam-business-forum-8369172972

Warwickshire VA Network:


News in Brief

A round-up of business headlines from around the county...

Royal cabinet maker in £750,000 investment
A Warwickshire cabinet maker for Queen Elizabeth II has invested £750,000 in its business to help it expand.
NEJ Stevenson, based in Church Lawford, designs and makes custom furniture as well as creating bespoke interiors for residential properties.

Warwickshire brewery launches first-ever collaboration brew
A West Midlands brewer which secured a multimillion-pound investment from the BGF earlier this year has launched its first-ever collaboration beer.
Warwickshire-based Purity Brewing Company has unveiled its Pure Helles Lager which has been made in partnership with Germany’s Bayreuther Brauhaus, part of the Maisel’s family.

Shanghai design studio for Aston Martin
Luxury sports car brand Aston Martin has opened a new design studio in Shanghai.
The manufacturer's first design studio to be located outside of the UK, the Aston Martin Lagonda Creative Lab, NICE 2035, is a partnership with Tongji University in Shanghai.

Business win for award-winning video firm
A Midlands company that has been part of Oscar and BAFTA winning teams for its drone camera work has produced footage of key business locations in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Revenue Passes £700m at Holland & Barrett
The Nuneaton-headquartered retailer has posted a revenue of £702.4m for the year to 30 September 2018 in accounts for Holland & Barrett International, up from £655.9m from the prior 12 months.

Investment to drive new era for bakery specialist
A specialist bakery which started as a corner shop in Warwick in the 1960s and now sells more than six million products a year has been acquired.

£6m allocated to economy-boosting projects
Four projects in Coventry and Stratford-upon-Avon have been awarded more than £6m of funding to further encourage culture, tourism and economic growth.

South Warwickshire tourism boost brings in £45m
Shakespeare’s England attracted more than 10 million tourists trips last year, bringing £45m a month to the local economy.
Shakespeare’s England, the destination management organisation for South Warwickshire, has published a 4% rise in the overall value of these increased trips which are worth more than £500m annually.

Car parts giant’s UK arm returns to profit
The Warwick-headquartered UK arm of an international car parts giant that supplies the likes of Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley and Toyota has returned to profit despite its revenue falling, newly filed documents have revealed.

JLR opens £1bn manufacturing base
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has opened a £1bn manufacturing base in Slovakia which will employ 1,500 workers.
Based in Nitra, the move marks the first time a UK automotive company has opened a plant in the country.

China partnership announced by Silicon Spa games studio
Listed video game developer Codemasters has announced a new partnership with a counterpart which operates some of the most popular international online titles in China.

Nuneaton hotel part of £62m portfolio purchase
Property investor LXi REIT has bought six properties, including a Nuneaton hotel, as part of its acquisition strategy.

Sitel-Waitrose Team Wins the National UKCCF ‘Outsourcing Partnership of the Year’ Award

Revenue accelerates at Aston Martin
Revenue at luxury car maker Aston Martin has accelerated more than 80 per cent to £282.4m during the third quarter of its current financial year. The new results are the first since the historic manufacturer floated on the London Stock Exchange.

JLR unveils tech to help drivers beat red lights
The manufacturing giant has revealed its Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) technology which will help drivers avoid red lights while its Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) will tell people the speed they are travelling to avoid getting stuck in queues.

Nuneaton housing development up for two property awards
An all-affordable housing scheme in Nuneaton being delivered by Midland Heart and developer Partner has been shortlisted for two Insider Property Awards, West Midlands.

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