West Midlands LEPs experience joy of six for the first time
The six West Midlands local enterprise partnerships are demonstrating how they could work together if the region’s devolution bid is successful.
For the first time the LEPs are joining forces to promote the automotive industry.
They will share a stand at Advanced Engineering UK 2015 exhibition at the NEC next month. The event will be the first occasion the six LEPs have worked in unison.
The shadow West Midlands combined authority devolution bid currently with the Treasury is based on three of the LEPs – Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire and the Black Country – working with the seven metropolitan councils to run transport, economic development and skills.
But it’s also envisaged that the combined authority could occasionally bring on board Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire for specific cross-border projects if the devolution deal is approved.
The Advanced Engineering UK exhibition provides a platform for the engineering supply chain to meet with manufacturing professionals. The LEPs hope their show of unity will be a seen as a powerful demonstration of the capabilities of the region to fulfil the Engine for Growth strategy being championed by the government and other bodies.
The West Midlands’ presence is spearheaded by Drive West Midlands, a new support programme designed to attract more investment into the area’s thriving automotive sector. Launched in June by inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham and UK Trade & Investment’s Automotive Investment Organisation, the initiative offers a single point of reference for businesses by co-ordinating local support services within the automotive trade.
The West Midlands has one of the strongest automotive industries in the world. There are more than 1,100 specialist automotive firms in the region, employing some 40,000 highly skilled people. With global names including Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Geely and SAIC UK based in the area, it boasts the highest concentration of Tier 1 and 2 suppliers in the UK.
David Shepherd, Sector Relationship Manager (Automotive) at Marketing Birmingham, said:
The growth of the UK’s automotive industry presents huge opportunities locally. With national vehicle production expected to rise to over two million by 2018, it is crucial that we capitalise on this increase by helping our West Midlands suppliers to further grow, innovate and recruit.
Drive West Midlands aims to ensure that we provide the best possible support for large and small companies in the region’s supply chain by connecting them to potential new customers, while also raising the profile of this area’s automotive strengths. Our presence at Advanced Engineering UK will provide us with an ideal platform to achieve this.
Drive West Midlands’ line-up of speakers on the main conference programme includes Robert Evans, chief executive of Cenex, an independent consultancy that specialises in low carbon vehicle technologies.
Advanced Engineering UK 2015 is the country’s largest free-to-attend engineering event, featuring over 750 exhibitors and more than 175 speakers. It comprises four interlinked shows representing multiple advanced engineering and technology sectors: Automotive Engineering Show, Aero Engineering Show, Composites Engineering Show and Performance Metals Engineering.
Drive West Midlands will be exhibiting on stand K75.
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