Priorities & Plans
The SEP identifies five core pillars of activity for improving economic performance and creating rapid, dynamic change across the Coventry & Warwickshire region. These priorities inform everything we do, from the projects and initiatives we deliver, to where funding is allocated, and how we focus the co-ordinated actions of our partners to achieve success.
They also provide direction for the road ahead, setting out strategies for harnessing opportunities and capitalising on our
strengths, but also acknowledging economic challenges and identifying barriers to growth.
The projects launched as a result are already making a measureable impact on the area’s transport infrastructure, inward investment and the creation of highly-skilled, attractive jobs.
This progress is possible thanks to significant funding secured from the UK Government, the EU and the private sector.
Unlocking Growth Potential
Due to rapid growth in the AME and logistics sectors, the SEP identified a scarcity of available employment land in the short term, making it a priority to unlock key development sites to support private investment, job creation and housing growth.
As part of this strategy, the LEP has committed £40m of public sector funds to the Friargate regeneration scheme, delivering a major new commercial district to Coventry and creating 3m sq ft of mixed-use space and 15,000 new jobs.
Funding from the Growth Deal is also contributing towards developing local rail infrastructure and transport corridors, with
significant investment being ploughed into improving access between major employment sites and the national and international gateways of UK Central, Birmingham Airport and the forthcoming HS2.
The SEP made enhancing digital connectivity a priority after identifying that the region’s uptake of superfast broadband was slightly below the UK average. We’ve already rolled out internationally competitive superfast broadband covering 91% of properties in the area, and announced Wave 3 of the Coventry Solihull Warwickshire (CSW) broadband rollout allowing thousands more households and businesses to access faster fibre broadband.
Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Sector Development
Coventry and Warwickshire is recognised as a globally important hub in developing low carbon technologies and the advanced manufacturing and engineering (AME) sector, with business and research links across the world. AME directly employs 34,000 people locally, accounting for 10% of employment - that’s 57% greater than the UK average overall and 500% greater than the UK average for the automotive industry.
This important high-value industry is a core focus for growth. Globally recognised brands like Jaguar Land Rover, Tata and Aston Martin continue to be drawn to this area, in part due to our world class R&D and innovation facilities and one of the strongest education, skills and apprenticeship provisions in the UK. In turn, they invest millions back into the region.
Working closely with Jaguar Land Rover, the LEP secured a government grant to improve roadways and build a brand new
bridge across the A45 to support JLR’s £500m investment to double the size of its R&D operations in Whitley.
We’re also continuing our commitment to support excellence in innovation. Using the government’s Local Growth Deal funding, the LEP has contributed £7m towards construction of Coventry University’s forthcoming National Transport Design Centre, and funded the university’s Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering with finance from the Growing Places Fund.
And as home to one of the largest gaming studio clusters in the UK - known as Silicon Spa - we’re taking steps to secure investment that will unlock Leamington Spa’s commercial and cultural potential in the creative and digital economy, including investment in buildings and improved transport and start-up facilities.
Growing Our SMEs
Established in 2014 with City Deal funding, the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub is helping thousands of businesses across the region to access funding, tap into supply chains, increase production and reach their full potential.
Offering free and impartial support and advice to businesses of all sizes, the Growth Hub is recognised by the SEP as an indispensable service for delivering economic impact at a grassroots level and boosting productivity, investment and growth.
Run by seasoned business professionals and enhanced by public sector insight, the Growth Hub has already created more than 2,400 jobs, added £89m in gross value add, and secured more than £65m in private sector investment to help businesses grow.
Similarly, the opening of Stratford-upon-Avon’s new 2,500 sq ft Venture House will play an important role in supporting start-ups and micro-businesses. It’s part-funded through the Growth Deal and supported by Growth Hub business advisors.
Growing Our Talent
In order to grow the local economy and address the skills gap, we need a trained and talented workforce. Skills drive growth and create jobs, tackle unemployment and increase productivity.
The LEP’s Skills Strategy outlines a vision to increase opportunities to learn throughout higher education and into employment. It provides a special focus on supporting careers in the high-value AME sector, particularly in partnership with the region’s excellent universities, FE colleges and research institutes to create a better fit between education and employment.
The Skills Strategy acknowledges that apprenticeships play a key role in developing the academic knowledge and practical experience required to take advantage of the exciting employment opportunities on offer in engineering, innovation and manufacturing.
Significant progress has already been made in this area. Warwickshire College’s new Trident Centre has been built using funding from the Growth Deal to deliver courses and apprenticeships within the AME sector.
The LEP has also facilitated a collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and the Trident Centre to train advanced and higher apprentices. More than 200 apprentices are taking advantage of Warwickshire College’s engineering workshops and computer laboratories, with apprenticeships for both GCSE and A-Level entrants, the latter leading to a fully sponsored BEng degree in Applied Engineering from the University of Warwick.
Automotive pioneer, MIRA is also developing the MIRA Academy, which will focus on training apprentice engineers and offer a graduate trainee scheme and supporting PhD programmes in conjunction with Coventry University, among others.
Culture and Tourism
The Coventry and Warwickshire area benefits from two medieval castles, two motor museums, a wealth of entertainment and sports venues, and a major international tourist hub in the form of Shakespeare’s Stratford. Receiving more than 5m visitors per year, the town is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the popular Stratford Butterfly Farm.
Maintaining and growing our cultural and tourism assets is a priority for Coventry and Warwickshire LEP - these attractions generate a significant contribution to our local economy and further help to make Coventry and Warwickshire a desirable place in which to live, work and study.
They also create jobs - the SEP estimates more than 40,000 people are employed in the region’s tourism industry.
Investment will focus on joining up public spaces, improving transport links and developing skills in the tourism and culture sector.
We are also committed to showcasing our attractions to the world as Coventry bids to become the UK City of Culture in 2021. The year-long programme of events to celebrate the City of Culture, alongside expanded services to cater for visitors, will generate further jobs, promote our excellent cultural assets and boost the economy across the entire LEP region.