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The future’s bright: the future’s Birmingham

The future’s bright: the future’s Birmingham

🕔09.Jul 2015

Birmingham has become the only city in Europe to be named a Location of the Future.

The nomination by Site Selection, a global inward investment magazine, is the latest piece of evidence underlining Birmingham’s successful transformation at the forefront of a new industrial revolution.

Location consultants and foreign direct investment (FDI) specialists from across the world were surveyed for the rankings. They were asked where companies will be locating 10 years from now.

Birmingham was recognised alongside investment hotspots including Ireland and Germany in Western Europe – with the region praised for its high quality infrastructure, affordability, education provision and skilled workforce. No eastern European cities were listed by the experts surveyed.

The respondents also identified the industries expected to attract investment in Western Europe. Several mirrored Birmingham’s priority sectors for FDI – including automotive, tech, manufacturing, financial services and life sciences.

Site Selection’s findings mirror growing confidence at the city council that Birmingham is finally escaping from decades of high unemployment following the collapse of volume manufacturing in the 1980s and 1990s and is emerging as a world leader in high-end science, automotive and digital based industries.

Birmingham attracted a record 48 FDI projects in 2014/15. Firms locating or expanding in the city included Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG, Virgin Media, tech firm Uber and manufacturer HydraForce, which is relocating to the city’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham city council, said:

A decade of investment into Birmingham is now coming to fruition. Schemes including the £600 million transformation of New Street station are about to finish, while projects such as HS2 are moving forward quickly.

Birmingham’s new infrastructure and accessibility has turned the city into a highly competitive investment destination, which has been recognised by industry experts across the world.

Wouter Schuitemaker, investment director at inward investment agency Business Birmingham, added:

Our strategy to attract inward investment has always targeted sectors that will create the greatest economic impact and employment for Birmingham.

Initiatives such as the city’s economic zones provide facilities and support tailored to industries with very specific needs in areas such as connectivity, infrastructure and recruitment.

This approach has enabled us to entice more companies here than ever before – and establish Birmingham’s international standing in sectors including advanced engineering, digital media and financial services.

Announcements in yesterday’s Budget around the skills agenda could boost Birmingham’s renaissance even further.

Chancellor George Osborne is promising to deliver three million apprenticeship places during the course of this parliament, with funding for the scheme coming from employers.

Mr Osborne said:

This goal will require funding from employers. In recognition of this, the government will introduce a levy on large UK employers to fund the new apprenticeships.

This approach will reverse the long-term trend of employer underinvestment in training, which has seen the number of employees who attend a training course away from the workplace fall from 141,000 in 1995 to 18,000 in 2014.

The levy will support all post-16 apprenticeships in England. It will provide funding that each employer can use to meet their individual needs. The funding will be directly controlled by employers via the digital apprenticeships voucher, and firms that are committed to training will be able to get back more than they put in.

Mr Osborne said he would invite universities, LEPs, businesses and cities to work with central government to map strengths and identify potential areas of strategic focus for different regions through a series of science and innovation audits.

John Lewis Birmingham - project manager Gavin Smith and head of branch Lisa Williams on the third floor








The Location of the City accolade and Budget announcements come in the same week as Grand Central and John Lewis announce their opening date during an autumn period when the city will be underlining campaigning under the Welcome to More Birmingham banner. 

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