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May 2016

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is a strong and dynamic partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and further education across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay with the purpose of leading and influence economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West.

About the Newsletter
Produced monthly, this newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.

Introduction - Paul Taylor, Head of Strategy and Operations

Welcome to the May edition of the LEP newsletter.

The main priority for the partnership in coming weeks is to prepare for a third round of Growth Deals. This the process whereby all 39 LEPs must compete nationally for their share of another £1.8billion of the Local Growth Fund. The Board discussed our approach to the bid at their May meeting, and we’re developing a programme of indicative projects based around three themes: capital investment in skills; infrastructure and premises to support business growth; and transport investment. The Board are hopeful we can build on our track record – having secured more funding than any other last time around – so expectations are high!

Also at their last meeting, the Board heard from Councillor John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council, about the latest on the Heart of the South West devolution deal. The whole Board expressed their support and commitment to securing the best deal possible for our economy. The latest news from the Devolution Project Management Office can be found on our website .

Back in March, as keen newsletter readers may have noticed, our area was selected in the Chancellor's Budget to be one of only 5 national ‘Science & Innovation Audit’ pilots. Whilst the word ‘audit’ may not get the adrenaline flowing for many people, this is really quite an exciting opportunity for our patch! It allows us to conduct a proper assessment of our area’s strengths in science, research, technology and innovation – giving us a great platform for future government investment. Our audit will be carried out as part of a consortium with other south west LEPs, South Wales and the region’s universities. To find out more, see link where you can also register to attend some themed business events – more details below.

Elsewhere in this issue, we have news from the Business Leadership Group from Chair Nick Ames, and as usual an update on the European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF).This will be the last of these European funding updates for a little while, given the period of political sensitivity in the run up to the European referendum on 23rd June, so please do give it a good read.

We also have some interesting articles on our infrastructure and skills projects such as the building of the new STEM centre at City College and the call for business mentors to help young people make informed choices in their careers.

Although it might seem a long way off, I’d like to remind you of the date of the LEP Annual Conference. It will be on Monday 3rd October, so please save the date in your diaries. Regular updates will appear on the website and as ever, partners are asked to follow the LEP on twitter @HeartofSWLEP and LinkedIn to stay in touch with the latest news.

Nick Ames, Chair of the LEP’s Business Leadership Group

The Business Leadership Group’s main focus is to ensure that the LEP has strategies to support business at every stage of their lifecycle; from ideas and business planning, to start up stage and growth and expansion. We are making progress in this by the newly established Service for All element of the Growth Hub, which has an update in this newsletter but equally important is the work of the whole of the LEP.

We are working with our partners to develop a robust pipeline of projects for Growth Deal 3, to impress government with a portfolio of truly transformational projects that will deliver real growth the local economy. Infrastructure and skills, unsurprisingly, have once again emerged as the most pressing priorities for businesses.

To campaign for further vital infrastructure investment from Government, we are working with the Peninsula Rail Task Force to seek the views of south west businesses, on rail improvements for our area.Please help us get the rail investment we need by taking part in this short survey before 27 May:

Live Calls and Updated ESIF Strategy


An updated version of the Heart of the South West ESIF Strategy is available on ESIF pages of our website, incorporating details of the contribution that the Heart of the South West is expected to make to national ERDF and ESF output targets.

And as reported in the last newsletter, here are details of the Live ESIF Funding Opportunities, and the deadlines are:

  • 27th May 2016 for outline applications to photonics (‘Transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only) digital infrastructure and social enterprise support ERDF calls.
  • 20th June 2016 for outline applications to ESF calls for ‘Developing Higher Level Skills’ and ‘Improving the Labour Market Relevance of Higher Level Skills’
  • 29th July 2016 for outline applications to the ERDF innovation call for the ‘Transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay (including agri-tech, big data, environmental futures, healthy ageing and marine)
  • Outline applications to the ‘enterprise and incubation space’ ERDF call will be assessed on receipt, with a final deadline of 27th October 2017. 

Further information on these calls and other ESIF developments in the HotSW area are on the ESIF pages of the website.

Potential applicants are encouraged to register on and view the Partner Database, in order to help them to find potential partners for bids.

The LEP encourages prospective or existing applicants to ERDF innovation and business support calls in the Heart of the South West to speak with the Growth Hub about aligning service delivery and working in partnership to deliver a joined up service for businesses. They are advised to contact David Hynd, Programme and Partnership Manager at:

Update from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub

Our Growth Hub partner networking event ‘roadshow’ was in Barnstaple this month at the fantastic Barnstaple Work Hub.  A huge thanks to guest speaker Janet Herniman from North Devon+ for a comprehensive overview on the various business support and skills programmes, initiatives and grant schemes such as LEADER5 that North Devon+ are involved with across North Devon and beyond.  We also heard from Heidi Hallam, LEP Partnership Manager, who covered a wide range of activities with which the LEP are involved such as Devolution discussions and in influencing funding and Government strategies that affect the LEP area.  Our next partner briefing session is in Plymouth on 9th June then we are in Wells on 7th July.  If you are interested in coming along then please do book your place using our Eventbrite pages
Business enquiries into the Growth Hub continue to cover a wide range of business issues and challenges.  General issues around planning for business growth, access to finance and marketing feature highly.  The Growth Hub team is on hand to respond with information and introductions to schemes and support that can help.  Please do get in touch by phone, email or online at

Ground Breaking Ceremony for Plymouth’s New STEM Centre

Construction of Plymouth’s new Regional Centre of Excellence for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) that is partially funded by the LEP’s Growth Deal, officially started this month with a ground breaking ceremony at City College’s Kings Road site.

Due to open in autumn 2017, the Regional Centre of Excellence for STEM will be a vital facility for helping Plymouth employers to better meet their need for highly skilled, higher-level technicians and apprentices. The £13million new facility has financial support from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and Plymouth City Council.

This scheme was awarded £5.4m from the Growth Deal, allocated for its strategic fit with the raising skills in areas of employment that are in demand in the area, particularly those in high value careers.

Get In Go Far

In line with the Skills agenda of the Strategic Economic Plan, the LEP is supporting the Get in Go Far campaign to promote the take up of apprenticeships which launched this month. 

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Skills Funding Agency and National Apprenticeship Service are looking for case studies for the Get in Go Far communications campaign.
They want to show real life inspirational stories of apprentices and highlight the variety of opportunities available to young people. The case studies would be used mainly in PR opportunities to profile the campaign.
More information is available at:  Employers of apprentices are asked to contact BIS and send in their case studies to:

Opportunity to Identify Business Growth through Science & Innovation

Innovative businesses, university and economic development professionals are being asked to input into the region’s Science and Innovation Audit: helping UK Government understand where there is global research and business excellence that can drive productivity growth.
You are invited to attend a stakeholder workshop where we will present our findings so far, give you chance to input your thoughts as to where the region is strong and where more investment could enhance this.  There are five events to choose from:
  • Tuesday 14 June (11.00 - 14.00) – with a focus on Resilience, Environment & Sustainability, Exeter
  • Wednesday 22 June (13.00 - 16.00) – with a focus on Digital Living Innovation Platform, Bristol
  • Friday 24 June (13.00 - 16.00) – with a focus on New Energy Systems, Taunton
  • Monday 27 June (13.00 - 16.00) – with a focus on Next Generation Microelectronics, Cardiff
  • Tuesday 28 June (13.00 - 16.00) – with a focus on Aerospace & Advanced Engineering, Bristol
More information is available here, we look forward to hearing your views.

South Coast Marine Cluster Celebration 

Partners from the South Coast Marine Cluster hosted a celebration of marine and maritime excellence in Plymouth this month, during the Bakerly Transat Race, organised by the Heart of the South West LEP Inward Investment Manager and partners.

Expert presenters including from the University of Plymouth, the National Oceanography Centre, the South West Satellite Centre of Excellence and businesses such as MSubs and H2eau. The South Coast Marine Cluster covering Solent, Dorset, the Heart of the South West and Cornwall Local Enterprise Partnership areas, is home to some of the most innovative and exciting marine-related companies in the world, with particular specialties in marine manufacturing, autonomous systems, marine energy and satellite and information technology.

Event guests, including UKTI Inward Investment and Exporting teams, saw impressive evidence of what makes the South Coast Marine Cluster the largest in the UK and one of the most significant in the world. For instance, over 1,700 world-class marine science & technology experts are available to support the marine sector, including from The Met Office, the University of Southampton and the University of Exeter.

The Cluster group of public and private partners is working together to stimulate business growth and productivity. Business support includes inward investment, exporting support, access to research institutions and testing facilities such as Exeter University’s Fab Test and the University of Plymouth’s Coast Laband networking opportunities.
The event was part of a profile-raising campaign, initiated last year after a successful Great Challenge funding bid by Plymouth and Portsmouth City Councils. Great Challenge funded 21 local companies from a range of marine-related industries to visit 6 international events to promote the South Coast Marine Cluster, where over 300 leads were generated and some of the companies have already secured contracts overseas.

Somerset College Advanced Centre for Engineering

Chris Garcia, LEP Chief Executive visited Somerset College to see the Jet Provost MK 5 aeroplane which was delivered to the College last month following Growth Deal funding received from the LEP to develop Advanced Engineering provision. 
Chris Garcia said “I started in this role three years ago, and this was one of the first projects to be approved. I am delighted to come to Somerset College and see the fruition of all the hard work and take real pleasure in seeing for myself that through collaboration, we are able to deliver projects that meet local employer needs and ensure that our young people are trained and industry ready.” Chris went on to say “This is one project from a £ ½ billion pound project pipeline and if this project is anything to go by, I feel sure that the HotSW LEP investments will make a difference to the South West’s economy.”
Ben Hawkes, Level 3 Aeronautical Engineering student said, “It’s really exciting to have a plane on site that we can work on. To be able to transfer our learning from one environment to another so quickly enables our learning to be meaningful.  One minute we are learning the theory and the next we are putting it into practice on an aeroplane.”
The students have also taken the opportunity to work closely with employers. “Our students have recently been on work placements with Flybe and JMC” said lecturer Ray Alderton-Par “In fact, there are a number of employers who are interested in offering them work placements over the summer and jobs on completion of the course. I feel sure that they all have great futures in the aeronautical industry ahead of them.”  
Rachel Davies Principal and CEO of Somerset College said, “It is wonderful to see this project culminate in the delivery of the aircraft.  Without the funding the HoSW LEP, this project would not have been possible.  The students have gained so much from being able to work both in the classroom on the theory and put it into practice. I am looking forward to watching these students flourish in their future careers.” 
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