January 2016 Board Update
Our January Board meeting focused on how we are refreshing our plans and aligning them with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the wider Midlands Engine and our renewed focus on skills. It’s acknowledged that there’s a real skills challenge in this part of the world and that whilst we are improving our skills levels, there is much more that we need to be doing to ensure local people are equipped for the jobs that are being created.
Major items of discussion:
- Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) Refresh – We are refreshing our SEP to address the opportunities and challenges that the changing economic picture presents and to reflect progress made against our existing Plan. We are also aligning our plans with the ‘Super SEP’ for the WMCA which will cover GBSLEP and the Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire LEPs. The Pillar Boards and their sub-groups are developing the strategic steer for Business, People and Place. The refreshed SEP will be published in July.
- Midlands Engine – continues apace, with the LEP agreeing a small amount of financial support along with the other 10 LEPs in the East and West Midlands. Proposals for taking forward the Prospectus, launched on 4 December 2015 are progressing and we discussed how GBSLEP should play into it this work.
- Life Sciences – Graham Silk, Chair of the Life Sciences Commission, presented on the opportunities for the area to become a world leader in the Translational medicine sector. It’s a key sector for GBSLEP, one that we’ve supported in our City Deal and Local Growth Deal. We are now looking to work with partners to further grow the sector.
- The Employment & Skills landscape is shifting in light of the WMCA’s devolution deal and other changes in Government policy. Discussion at the meeting centred around the changes to colleges nationally and how GBSLEP can continue to input into this agenda to ensure the region offers a first class skills pool for employers.
- And finally, KPMG gave us a presentation on the Dynamic Economic Impact Model (DEIM) that has been commissioned by the WMCA. The DEIM will provide an objective assessment of a range of interventions including transport, regeneration, skills and innovation in order to prioritise interventions.