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New funding for training and skills 

This week, our Regional Recovery Taskforce welcomed new funding and initiatives to help residents with the training and skills they need to improve their job prospects as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

  The new measures, announced by the Mayor, include: 

· Unemployed people being offered learning and work experience opportunities with businesses where there are vacancies;  

· 400 new A-Level equivalent qualifications in the region thanks to the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee 

· A new £2m digital skills investment programme to help give residents and businesses the skills they need.  


New tiers for Bristol and North Somerset

We are urging residents to follow the latest government guidance to slow the spread of Covid-19 as parts of the region are in high risk (tier 2) or very high risk (tier 3) alert levels.

Following continued assessment of hospital admission rates and levels of Covid-19 cases across the West of England, the region remains in high risk alert level (Tier 2) for Bath and North East Somerset and very high risk alert level (Tier 3) South Gloucestershire. The Government has announced today that Bristol and North Somerset will move down from Tier 3 to Tier 2 as of 00.01 on Saturday 19 December.

Read more…

10 year rail plan for West of England

We have set out plans to transform travel by rail over the next ten years. The plan was agreed by the WECA Committee on 4 December, and sets out how travel will change between 2020-2030. 

This includes new rail routes, step-free access at stations and more frequent ‘turn up and go’ services.



New funding for homes and employment

We're investing £33m to support the development of new homes, employment sites and infrastructure across the region.

This includes Bristol City Council's Hengrove Park development - the first scheme to be supported by our new Development Infrastructure Fund.

Read more >


Important EU transition information

From 1 January 2021, when you export goods to any country, you will need to submit a Customs Declaration. If you need help, ChamberCustoms delivers a Customs Declaration service that takes the hassle out of exporting and importing goods. If you want to be able to accurately complete your own simple Customs Declaration, Business West offers Customs Declarations training to highlight how you need to do it. Read about the full offer from ChambersCustoms here.  

A pilot Export Academy scheme has been introduced to support smaller businesses begin their exporting journey. Applicable to a wide range of businesses, whether you want to start exporting, or you’re aiming to enter new markets, WECA’s partner Business West will help you overcome many of the common challenges that small businesses can face. The Export Academy will deliver a series of activities that will build your capabilities, creating a new cohort of confident businesses ready to trade. This pilot programme is designed for owners and senior managers of businesses, and to qualify your business must have a turnover of up to £500,000 and be located in the Midlands, North of England or the South West of England. Find out more and register today.


Book my Bus Ride expansion

First West of England’s new space booking system is now available on the Y1 Yate to Bristol route, via Chipping Sodbury, on all Monday to Friday services.

It follows the success of the bookable T1 Thornbury to Bristol service which has also been extended from peak times to all Monday to Friday journeys.  This service also now offers wheelchair services the ability to book one of the two wheelchair spaces on board.

The pilot launched in July on the Brislington Park and Ride service and is also available on the 171/172 Paulton to Bath service via Midsomer Norton. It is being rolled out by First West of England in partnership with WECA.

Read more... 

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 regular 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 final blog of 2020, Mayor Tim Bowles looks back on the year and the changes we’ve seen.


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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