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June 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.

Chris Garcia, Chief Executive

Welcome to the June edition of the LEP newsletter.
The result of the referendum vote is clearly the most significant political event in my lifetime, but it is, at this stage, too early to say what impact ‘Brexit’ will have on the work of the LEP and the HotSW economy. We are particularly eager to find out if it will affect the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), and if any new guidance from government emerges, we will of course share with you via the website. In the meantime, we advise partners that it’s ‘business as usual’, and to continue with planned activity related to the programme, until we hear otherwise. We wouldn’t want the Heart of the South West to miss out on funding.
In yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron, in response to Jeremy Corbyn asking for assurance on pledged EU funding, said: “Answering his questions on money that different areas of the country get, until we leave the EU, none of those arrangements change, so what has been set out in the budget and the payments and the rest of it, all of those continue, but, as the negotiation begins properly for leaving, obviously the next government will want to set out what arrangements it will put in place for farmers, for local authorities, and for regions of our country.”

My view is that LEPs' roles in national growth delivery will be as important in the future and that we will be relied upon as a mechanism for information and intelligence with an impartial voice. Nationally, the LEP Network has re-enforced the LEPs’ message to government that in these “interesting times” we are here at the ready - along with our local elected members & business community - to act if they need us to.

On other LEP activity which may or may not be affected by Brexit, here is a brief overview of our current thoughts on the situation:

Local Growth Fund bids for Transport Majors and Growth Deal – the message from Cities and Local Government in BIS is very much one of “business as usual”. We submitted our snapshot for Growth Deal 3 on Friday and there is no suggestion of any impact to the Growth Deal funding process. We still anticipate being able to submit our bid on 28 July, after a Ministerial challenge session on our Growth Deal proposal in mid-July.

Feedback from Government is that they are in “listening mode” and keen to hear from LEPs if we are picking up any local intelligence form businesses significantly affected by the decision. Please let me have any feedback /local intelligence if you feel will be of relevance so I can pass onto our Regional Managers and BIS Local colleagues. 
Our Growth Hub is on hand to advise businesses on their opportunities arising from the ever-changing environment, so please continue to use / promote this service, free at the point of contact, to any businesses you deal with at whatever size or stage of maturity they are.
Finally, as we look to the future and our region’s increasing profile on the global stage, we are pleased to have read assurances from EDF that the referendum result has no impact on their planned investment at Hinkley. And, as detailed in the next article, we are pleased to have a presence at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris this week to take advantage of our first-mover position on the nuclear new-build market and harness the wealth of other nuclear opportunities beyond that of Hinkley.

HotSW LEP & Nuclear South West at World Nuclear Exhibition

The Heart of the South West is part of the Nuclear South West (NSW) delegation taking part in the World Nuclear Exhibition this week, showcasing the south west as the UK’s leading region for nuclear industry, and promoting the area to attract inward investment in this sector.
Also at the event, which takes place in Paris, the National College for Nuclear is being launched: A new facility head-quartered at Bridgwater College; funded by Bridgwater College, HotSW LEP and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, with industry employers EDF Energy and Sellafield Ltd providing access to training facilities.
Opening in 2017, the college will provide facilities to enhance the highly-skilled, technical workforce trained in the expectations required by the nuclear sector.

The nuclear sector offers £50 billion supply chain opportunities within a 75 mile radius and south west companies and research institutions are at the forefront of innovative research that support the safe and efficient operation of nuclear systems of the UK and around the world.
Therefore Nuclear South West has been established as a public/private partnership which includes the LEPs of: Heart of the South West, West of England and GFirst, to support the industry and generate innovation, skills and further supply chain opportunities.
It involves a growing cluster of over 180 nuclear related organisations, research institutions and training providers supported by local, regional and national government partners, working together to maximise the delivery of nuclear industry opportunities in the south west over the next 20 years.
The Nuclear South West team offers extensive business support and networking opportunities for potential investors.  for more information and NSW activity can be followed on Twitter @NuclearSW.

Growth Hub

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub service has already engaged more than 350 businesses.  Enquiries that come through are currently very diverse with business planning and accessing finance as some of the most common. Businesses also vary greatly in nature from manufacturers to service providers, retailers to child carers, inventors to chimney sweeps.

In this changing economic environment we are on hand to talk to businesses about new plans they have for growth. For example, the Heart of the South West is a prime area for developing its export potential and in light of the recent drop in sterling companies may now be seeking new markets overseas. Our team can match businesses to international trade support services to help them move forward their plans.

The Growth Hub’s next Partner Networking Session is at the Mendip Hub in Wells on Thursday 7th July.  Hear the latest from the Growth Hub and the business support options available.  Booking is via Eventbrite pages.

Peninsula Enterprise that delivers the Growth Hub service are currently procuring business advisers (individuals or organisations) to provide Growth Support as part of the Heart of the South West Growth Hub service. Visit the Peninsula Enterprise website for the specification.

For more information about the Heart of the South West Growth Hub service visit or to speak to an adviser today about your business support needs call 03456 047 047 or complete our online enquiry form.

Somerset Employers Needed as Enterprise Advisers

Somerset employers are being urged to take part in a new project, designed to encourage greater links between schools and local businesses.

The Enterprise Adviser Network has now recruited 24 volunteer business mentors from throughout Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, but still needs more businesses in Somerset to take part. In particular, the Network is looking for businesses in Frome, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Wincanton, Yeovil, Bridgwater and Highbridge.

Businesses in other areas can also still apply, as the aim is to roll out the project to all schools as additional funding becomes available. Initially the project will run in 36 schools across the Heart of the South West area.

Commissioned by HotSW LEP, in conjunction with the four upper tier local authorities, the Enterprise Adviser Service encourages employers and schools to work together to support young people in making informed choices about their future careers.

Schools will be matched with a volunteer employer for at least one year, who will work closely with the school on a strategic basis.

The volunteer experts will help the school identify new ideas and a bespoke action plan will be put into place. Businesses will commit to providing around eight hours of support each month.

CSW Group is contracted to provide the service, which is being funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Development Agency.

To find out more visit

CITB Offers Flexible and Structured Funds

The LEP set up a Construction Labour and Skills Steering Group to address the local construction labour and skills challenge.

Sufficient numbers of talented people with the appropriate skills are needed to deliver the LEP’s project pipeline and the wider infrastructure improvements in the Heart of the South West.
The LEP’s Construction Labour and Skills Group is supporting the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) to promote their new window for Flexible and Structured Funds, and encourages construction SMEs and related stakeholders in the industry to take a look at these opportunities.

More information about the funding can be found here: and the CITB is holding a series of workshops to help organisations in putting together an application for funding support -  there’s one in Taunton on 12 July.

CITB’s funding focuses on the most needed construction training areas chosen in consultation with construction companies in 2015. There is a total of £20 million available for funding in 2016. The next rounds for both Structured and Flexible funds open on 19th July.

Some are aimed specifically at construction SMEs while others are general advice workshops for any interested stakeholders.

The workshops are free of charge but you will need to register your interest here:

Building Better Opportunities in the Heart of the South West 

The LEP is delighted to be working with the applicants who have been successful in their stage 1 submissions to the Building Better Opportunities Fund. This fund is co-financed between the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund, and all of the projects are aimed at supporting local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

The three applicants that will now be working on their stage 2 submissions for four different projects are PLUSS, CSW Group and Petroc. The applicants will now have time to develop their plans and engage with a wide range of partners. Project delivery is expected to start early in 2017.

More information about the Building Better Opportunities programme, including guidance notes, information on those invited through to stage 2 and FAQs etc. is available at

The LEP website has more information about the projects themselves and which organisations will be delivering them in different areas.
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