HoTSW LEP Newsletter | June 2020

I hope you, your friends and families are continuing to stay safe and please continue to keep social distance. For the latest business guidance on COVID-19 please visit the Growth Hub website.  As this is an emerging situation, government guidance can be found here.

Since the pandemic and subsequent lockdown we’ve been producing regular updates in our COVID-19 Business Resilience Newsletter, the latest one was issued last Friday and is available here in case you missed it.

It’s got news of the Heart of the South West area’s Route Map to Recovery, a useful toolkit from the Better Business for All partnership for re-opening your business safely and the Spring edition of our Business Bulletin which provide useful baseline data for building our recovery plan

Today’s newsletter is our regular round-up of progress on LEP initiatives, including Growth Deal projects, skills initiatives and sector news.

With the LEP’s primary purpose being to lead our region’s economic development, everything now is inevitably related to the pandemic and recovery, including our progress on the Great South West powerhouse economy. There’s been renewed interest in the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills for regional catchment areas, and our Great South West Prospectus – Securing our Future – has received praise in Govt circles for the strength and viability of its opportunities.

The Great South West All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) jointly chaired by Sir Gary Streeter MP and Ben Bradshaw MP meets again on 24 June,  with our MPs looking at the specific implications of the pandemic and urging Govt to unleash the immense potential in this area and the role we can play in the national recovery.

There’s also a national appetite for generating clean and inclusive growth which is at the heart of the Great South West prospectus and our HotSW Local Industrial Strategy what was submitted to Govt just before lockdown.

For us here though, the values that underpin our vison to create a dynamic and prosperous economy in the Heart of the South West, and for the wider South West to become the leading region for the blue and green economy remain sound although through our Recovery Plan we are reviewing closely these actions in response to the new economic challenges. We’re ready and waiting for the go-head from Westminster with formal recognition and commitment to #BackTheGreatSouthWest.

We are also very aware that businesses are looking at the opportunities and challenges of EU exit. At the LEP, we do not support a non-negotiated outcome.

In the meantime, here’s the latest round-up of our news.

Stay safe and keep in touch, David.

Jobs Launchpad – New Online Information on Jobs and Training

A new set of online resources has been published this week – the Jobs Launchpad – created to signpost people to job vacancies and advice and information on training and getting into employment. It builds on the work of the Virtual Careers Fair which was set up after a series of economic shocks such as the collapse of Flybe and Axminister Carpets, closely followed by the coronavirus lockdown.

There’s a wealth of resources on skills and training, apprenticeships, self-employment, support for young people, who to work for and more. Since going live on Monday more training providers and employers have asked to be included on the site. Follow @HotSWSkillsCareers for targeted news about employment and training.

The Jobs Launchpad is the first phase of the LEP’s progress on developing a fully comprehensive new website that’s coming soon: the Skills Launchpad; which will incorporate all of our partners’ initiatives across the Heart of the South West to help people of all ages and levels of education develop their skills and have the best chance of gaining higher value careers.

Sector News

The LEP and its partners produce newsletters for a variety of audiences involved in the Heart of the South West economy and skills landscape. The latest Growth Hub Newsletter was published on Wednesday with detailed information on resources to help businesses, including Govt assistance.

The HotSW Careers Hub has a monthly newsletter for practitioners in education and skills training, the latest bulletin, published this Tuesday, is available here.

Maritime UK South West (MUKSW) is a public, business, research partnership which brings together the breadth of our ocean economy, working in partnership to champion, grow and clean the sector.

The MUKSW June Newsletter contains opportunities to get into tidal and floating offshore wind, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, marine innovation support, COVID-19 support and series of marine tech webinars delivered in partnership with Oceansgate Enterprise Zone in Plymouth.

Finally, the Digital Skills Partnership (HotSW DSP) produces a regular newsletter with a wealth of resources for individuals and businesses to improve their digital skills. The latest was sent today and will be published under our latest news feed. We were a pilot area in the UK for the establishment of our DSP – exactly two years ago next week- when we’ll be issuing a story on our achievements. The HotSW DSP’s latest success story is Bounce Back Digital:

Bounce Back Digital – Free Courses to Help Businesses Trade Online

Bounce Back Digital is a free programme of webinars and short courses to help small businesses keep trading during the Covid-19 restrictions by moving some or all of their operations online.

The programme of 30 sessions covering a range of topics is the first of its kind in the country, delivered by the Heart of the South West  Digital Skills Partnership (HotSW DSP) it runs throughout June and July for any business in the area with less than 250 employees.

Digital Skills Partnership Manager, Charlotte Collyer said: “Bounce Back Digital is proving to be very popular. Since the program launched on 1 June, 250 places have been booked already, so we’re slightly increasing online course sizes from 15 to 20 people and looking to re-run some of our most popular courses towards the end of July.”

Here are some endorsements from attendees:

“The course helped fill the gaps in my knowledge about media marketing and hopefully when implemented, will increase our visibility and bookings”

“Still processing what I have learnt, it was lot of information to taking in the two hours. I so grateful that to get the recording of this event so I can activate what I have learnt.”

Oceansgate Marine Innovation Centre Survey

Following the success of Phase 1 & 2 developments, the Oceansgate team is looking to proceed with the next phase, which includes a Marine Innovation Centre. It is vital to capture businesses’ needs to ensure they are incorporated into the design and build.

Businesses in the marine, technology, digital or defence sector are invited to take 5 minutes to complete the survey the results of which will feed into a wider feasibility study. The Oceansgate team will also be holding brainstorming and interviews with businesses. Those with a strong interest in being part of the Marine Innovation Centre can get in touch.

Phase 1 of Oceansgate was funded by £1.5m from the LEP’s Growth Deal; a loan of £5m from the LEP’s Growing Places Fund and £1.2m from Plymouth City Council. Oceansgate is the first exclusively marine Enterprise Zone in the country, and part of the LEP’s portfolio of three nationally designated enterprise zones.

Growth Deal Update

Our Growth Deal programme is underway with the majority of works on-site or completed, and a further six projects awaiting a funding agreement.  40 capital projects have completed spending their Growth Deal funding, though some projects are experiencing delays in construction due to social distancing measures.

The LEP’s total Growth Deal is worth £590m; including £239m from Government and £351m match funding. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal: 2015 – 2021, it’s estimated that the investment will create up to 26,930 new jobs and 18,242 new homes. Details of the LEP’s capital projects are available here.

The latest Growth Deal project to hit the news is the North Devon Enterprise Centre:

Northern Devon Enterprise Centre aims to boost economic recovery

Looking towards economic recovery with the gradual easing of lockdown, Devon County Council has launched its search for operators to run the Northern Devon Enterprise Centre, near Barnstaple, partly funded by £2.15m from the LEP’s Growth Deal.

The process to find an expert operator to run the centre and deliver business support  officially started on Monday 8 June with tenders invited via

The centre will provide high quality office and collaboration space; with tailored support for entrepreneurs; from start-ups to more established small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to expand. It aims to boost the local economy and create jobs in Torridge and North Devon.

It will accommodate up to 35 high-growth, knowledge-based businesses including those from the digital, engineering, media, health, tech and environmental sectors.

Tenants will benefit from front-of-house service to look after day-to-day facilities management, enabling them to focus fully on their business. As well as flexible office spaces which can accommodate between one and 50 people, the centre will offer high-speed connectivity, car parking, bicycle storage and a variety of meeting spaces.

In addition to £2.15m LEP Growth Deal funding, the project is being funded by £2,932,162 from the European Regional Development Fund and Devon County Council.

For more information about the Enterprise Centre, contact Chris Bouchard 01392 351052 /