Watch the webinar
- Deborah Fraser, Regions Director, CBI (Chair)
- Duncan Kerr, Business Recovery Programme Manager, West of England Combined Authority
- Alexa Greaves, Chief Executive Officer, AAG and Sheffield City Region LEP Board Member
- Sarah Mackie, Head of HR, Zoo Digital Group
- Sheena McDermott, Networks and Innovation Lead, Be the Business
- The Local Industrial Strategy identified strengths in West of England, but also identified systemic issues in the local area – such as a long tail of productivity, and businesses reporting struggling to recruit sufficiently skilled staff
- We’ve designed a range of packages to address skills issues and productivity. Many of our original plans became outdated when COVID-19 struck, but we’ve redeveloped them to make them more reactive and targeted
- We’ve also developed a plan on how to build back better, greener and stronger in the West of England. Our priorities are:
- Invest in community outreach
- Invest in green infrastructure
- Deliver more affordable housing
- Increase public sector support for high streets
- Provide tailored support on current and future skills needs
- Strengthen employment and skills pathways.
- I’m a private sector board member of the Sheffield LEP and also Chair of the growth hub.
- We’re calling on the government to support the region with £1.7bn to support jobs and growth. How can this be accessed easily and efficiently?
- The growth hub is meant to act as the single gateway to access available support and guidance, to make life easier for businesses. Since the pandemic, the government has announced several schemes, and collates all of the information regarding these and highlights relevant support and how to access it
- Restart to Growth is a free support initiative to provide access to skilled experts. It’s aimed at businesses that need to re-establish after the lockdown. The scheme gives businesses two days with a skilled consultant to assess the business and provide relevant guidance
- We also have Skillsbanks to put employers from across the region in charge of their own training and skills needs.
- We wanted to grow Sheffield as a digital skills hub, so we contacted Skillsbank as they recognised the need. We helped to compile a training and analysis document, and a guide to accessing Skillsbank
- Following lockdown we wanted to ensure we’re supporting employees. We have grown during lockdown so needed to hire and wanted to ensure new staff were supported while joining the business remotely. Skillsbank put together a bespoke programme
- The service is provided quickly and efficiently, and we were able to implement the training within a month of application. It’s a great resource for those looking to upskill.
- The UK has some of the most productive companies in the world, but a long tail for the rest. Just a 10% improvement in productivity could bring billions of pounds to the economy
- Be the Business was set up to help firms improve their productivity. Evidence suggests technology adoption and leadership/management are the two key areas
- We offer programmes either through individual businesses or with a group of LEPs. We encourage SMEs to have a board and derive value from it. We’re also running programmes around tourism and hospitality in relevant areas
- Our technology adoption programme shows the level of innovation and technology development in small firms is massive, but too many don’t know where to start
- Be the Business digital also helps firms achieve what they need from technology.