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Government investment welcomed
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles has welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Chancellor of a £2bn scheme to create more jobs for young people, £1.6bn for employment support and a £3bn green investment plan to cut carbon emissions.

He said that the new Government funding will help support the West of England’s economic recovery from Covid-19: “I’ve prioritised getting people the skills and training they need in the West of England’s plan for economic recovery and renewal, and the Chancellor’s announcements today are going to be a big boost to that. These schemes will help connect our young people with the world of work and the opportunities they need to succeed. This is something my West of England Taskforce and my Metro Mayor colleagues across the country have been calling for, and I’m pleased the Government has listened.”

Welcome for new arts funding
The West of England Economic Recovery Taskforce has joined the West of England Mayor in welcoming £1.57 bn Government funding for UK arts and heritage organisations.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “Many organisations have been able to access grants and business rate relief during the crisis but I’ve been calling on Government to give more support to this vitally important sector that still faces considerable uncertainty. This funding will be a lifeline to many theatres, music venues and museums in the region and help to create a platform from which we can begin to re-build so that our vibrant creative sector continues to thrive.” 

Dick Penny, taskforce member and Chair of West of England Cultural Strategy Group said: “This national package of funding for arts and heritage organisations is a great relief for the creative sector and it is good to know that regional voices are being heard. The West of England’s Economic Recovery Task Force has been listening to what the sector has been saying and joining up the ask for additional support from Government. Although there are still tough times ahead for the cultural sector this new funding is extremely welcome.” 

Investing in digital skills training in Bath 
Plans for a new training centre in Bath focussed on digital skills and careers have been given a £300,000 boost.
I-START is designed to help local people to gain new skills and re-train for roles in the creative and digital sectors. It also aims to provide a more flexible approach to learning which will fit around people’s busy lives, making it more accessible to those without traditional qualifications. This would help more people from diverse social and educational backgrounds gain new skills, leading to high quality jobs in the creative and digital sectors.
The plan is to create an innovation centre – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK – on Bath College’s City Centre campus. As well as training, the innovation centre will also work with businesses, helping them develop new ideas.


New Accountancy Support for SMEs
We’ve launched a new Accountancy Support Programme that will provide small businesses with a free financial check-up, as well as bespoke advice and guidance on effective financial management.

It’s a West of England Combined Authority initiative, delivered in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) through our Growth Hub.

It aims to help small businesses grow and become more productive, through hands-on coaching, delivered by a chartered accountant, helping you to adopt new tools and processes. The support is fully funded and tailored to each company’s requirements, giving you access to the expertise you need to boost your business.
Find out more...

Enterprise Advisers - we need you
We’re looking for more Enterprise Advisers to work with our Careers Hub, supporting the schools and colleges in our region. More than 60 businesses people already volunteer as Enterprise Advisers across the West of England, however with the expansion of our Careers Hub, the team is looking to recruit more.

As a volunteer you will work with school and college leaders, sharing your expertise to help to improve careers advice and work experience opportunities for young people. Enterprise Advisers don’t need to be specialists in education, but are usually middle/senior managers enthusiastic about working with schools to support young people for the future. Volunteering takes up to six hours a month, and training is provided.

To find out more, join one of our information sessions on 21 or 29 July, to hear more about the role, talk to an experienced Enterprise Adviser, and ask questions.
Register here...
Advanced Therapies networking webinar
The South West Advanced Therapies Hub is holding a virtual networking event on 22 July. The webinar will showcase the Advanced Therapy (cell and gene therapy) work being carried out in the South West, providing an opportunity to share learning, build networks and promote our region as an exciting growth area.
We’re supporting the South West Advanced Therapy Ecosystem – through our Invest Bristol & Bath service – helping to promote the opportunities of this sector and working together to attract new investment to the region.
For more details, including how to register for the webinar, click here.
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 the support for the Creative and Cultural sector.

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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