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Katie Trout takes top GBSLEP job as Arts Council boosts creative industries

Katie Trout takes top GBSLEP job as Arts Council boosts creative industries

🕔01.Mar 2016

One of the officials who helped the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership get off the ground has been appointed its new director.

Katie Trout, who takes over with immediate effect from programme director Mike Carr, said she was looking forward to building on strong partnership working which would deliver record jobs and economic growth in the area.

I’m really excited to take on the role of Director of GBSLEP. I’ve been closely involved with the LEP since its inception and was part of the team that developed the original proposal to Government to form a LEP back in 2010.

Since then, I have helped the LEP to develop from being a partnership with no funding, no powers and limited influence to one that is setting the strategy for economic growth for the area, has negotiated a £379 million Growth Deal with Government and developed a £275 million Enterprise Zone Investment Plan.

The results of our strategy are now being felt on the ground with Local Growth Fund investments progressing in Solihull, East Staffordshire, Cannock Chase and Birmingham. The Growth Hub has been established to signpost businesses to support and finance to help them grow and local people are being supported into local jobs through collaboration with the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Institute for Translational Medicine, part funded through our City Deal, is putting Greater Birmingham on the map for clinical trials and the number of cranes in the city centre is testament to the confidence in the economy that the Enterprise Zone has helped to support.

Ms Trout said a key focus would be to work with partners to create an employer-led skills system that responds to the needs of businesses and provides local people with the skills they need to access jobs within the GBSLEP area.

News of the appointment came as it was announced that Arts Council England is investing £500,000 to help boost the GBSLEP area creative economy.

The money from the Arts Council’s Creative Local Growth Fund has been awarded to Birmingham City University to support its STEAMHouse project. The university is one of nine organisations in England to be awarded funding.

STEAMHouse will put arts and culture at the heart of GBSLEP’s strategy for innovation by melding arts and culture with science, technology, engineering and maths.

It will bring together academics, creative entrepreneurs, politicians and researchers to provide innovative business support for 270 creative enterprises, generate new research opportunities and create production and workshop spaces.

Anita Bhalla, GBSLEP board director and chair of Creative City, said:

We are delighted that Birmingham City University has been awarded Creative Local Growth Funding for the STEAMHouse project. The need to drive the skills base around Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull (GBS) area is at the heart of the GBSLEP’s Strategy for Growth.

STEAMHouse will complement and enhance existing regional facilities like iCentrum by creating incubator, collaboration, making and innovation space in Digbeth, in the centre of Birmingham, providing a catalyst for the creative industries.

STEAMHouse will deliver 10,000 jobs; create a new cluster of creative businesses; help bring empty properties and land back into productive economic use and support business growth creating new employment opportunities and safeguarding existing jobs.

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