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Taskforce focus on skills & training 

Skills development and training has been identified as a priority for our West of England Recovery Taskforce as the number of jobs advertised in the region in May dropped by a third.

The importance of jobs and training was discussed by taskforce members as they met this week, for the second time since the coronavirus outbreak. Led by Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, the Taskforce includes senior figures from industry, education and local government, working together on plans for the region’s recovery.


Careers Hub set to benefit more young people

Regional Mayor Tim Bowles has announced that from September, every secondary school and college across the West of England will be part of the West of England Careers Hub.

Led by the West of England Combined Authority, the Careers Hub works with schools across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to inspire young people and prepare them for the world of work.

£13m to encourage walking and cycling

We’re investing £13m in measures to encourage cycling and walking in the region. It comes as Sport England reports that during lockdown the number of people cycling has doubled from 8% to 16%.
£3m will underwrite the cost of short-term measures to help people to maintain social distancing while walking and cycling. A further £10m will be invested in longer term solutions to encourage active travel in the region.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “During the lockdown many people have taken advantage of quieter roads to walk or cycle more regularly. This new funding is helping to make sure we can safely move around our communities again." 


Milestone for MetroWest

More frequent trains to Gloucester, Yate and Westbury are a step closer as a change of scope to the MetroWest rail project was agreed by the WECA Committee.

Phase one of the MetroWest project, which is currently under way, will see the reopening of the Portishead line to passenger trains and improved services on the Severn Beach and Bath to Bristol lines. Phase two would reopen the Henbury Line to an hourly spur service, as well as providing increased, half-hourly trains to Yate.

Expanding MetroWest 30 miles beyond Yate to Gloucester in the north, and 15 miles from Bath to Westbury in the east is now within the scope of the MetroWest project after being welcomed by the Committee.


Planning for the future of the region

We are starting work on a new Spatial Development Strategy for the region – directing the development of homes, infrastructure, jobs and communities.

The Strategy will put clean, inclusive growth at the heart of the region’s approach and will support the region’s post-Covid economic recovery by setting out the longer-term spatial vision for the area.
We will be working with our constituent councils – Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire – as well as working with North Somerset Council on a shared evidence base.


Business support through the Growth Hub

Our Growth Hub offers a package of support such as the new Trading Better Online programme, which will benefit firms looking to boost their business online and reach new customers.
Delivered in partnership with TechSPARK, Trading Better Online is a WECA initiative designed to help small businesses get online, enhance online presence, or better promote an existing online offering by adopting new technology or new digital practices.
The Amazon Small Business Accelerator, is a free online training programme that can help businesses with their development. Delivered in partnership with Enterprise Nation, it offers a package of free training and financial support, specifically tailored to helping start-ups and small businesses navigate and recover from the challenges of COVID-19.
It includes practical advice for all types of business from sole traders, start ups and entrepreneurs through to more advanced support for existing businesses seeking long-term growth.

Economic briefing  

We’re tracking the impact of the pandemic on our region’s economy, building up the picture over time, drawing on what businesses are telling us, and the economic indicators available.

We’re putting together fortnightly briefings intended to deepen our understanding of the challenges faced by businesses across the region’s industries, and where there might be gaps in support coming from government.

You can find the latest briefing here.


Mayor's Blog  

In his latest blog, Mayor Tim Bowles talks about National Employability Day, and the importance of skills and training.

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) covers
Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
WECA also supports the Local Enterprise Partnership and
Joint Committee, which includes North Somerset.

Our mailing address is:
West of England Combined Authority, 3 Rivergate, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6ER

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