The Midlander 18 - December 2018

Members of the Midlands Engine Trade Mission visiting the Alibaba Group HQ
Members of the Midlands Engine Trade Mission visiting the Alibaba Group HQ

‘Highly successful’ China mission will drive trade across the Midlands

A Midlands Engine trade mission to China has been praised for preparing the ground for agreements and deals that will drive economic growth and investment across the region.

Midlands Engine Chairman Sir John Peace, who led a delegation of business leaders, scientists and university representatives, said: “This was a highly successful trade mission which reinforced our relationships at governmental and commercial levels."

The mission visited Guizhou, Zhejiang and Shanghai and a packed agenda saw meetings with the governors of Guizhou and Zhejiang, education department officials, airport representatives, senior officers from Alibaba, Geely and FAST (space centre).

The overarching themes of the mission included: Big Data, direct flights, education, innovation, sport and culture, tourism and commercial deals.

The week-long trade mission (November 23-30) took in three provinces which have a combined economy of $1.3 trillion. Find out more

Sir John speaking at the economic observatory launch

Launch of the Midlands Engine Economic Observatory

A powerful new economic observatory that will provide valuable data and insight has been officially launched.

Up-to-date analysis will allow the Midlands Engine Partnership to target resource in the most effective ways to present the evidence to Government on how best to accelerate growth in the economy. The Observatory will initially deliver two flagship pieces of analysis:

  • An Independent Economic Review of the Midlands
  • An assessment of the potential impact of Brexit on the different sectors across the region

The Observatory will also help the delivery of the strategic programmes within the Midlands Engine, including; Midlands Connect, trade and investment, skills, innovation and enterprise, and shaping places. Find out more

Being part of the Midlands Engine: Driving growth and investment

The Midlands Engine is entering the beginning of an exciting 12 months for the partnership as it seeks to engage with as many businesses, residents and stakeholders from across the region as possible.

The Midlands Engine vision is to accelerate growth in the Midlands economy by £54 billion by 2030 to make the region a better place to live, visit, study and do business.

Engagement activity is currently underway to help shape a multi-channel communication campaign which is being lead by independent marketing agency, CreativeRace. The aim of the campaign is to build a powerful narrative for Midlands’ growth and development that will not only create a competitive and compelling image of the region at home, but also overseas. Find out more 

People can share their views of what the priorities and focus of the campaign should be by completing an online survey by Wednesday 5th December 2018. Click here to take part in the survey.

£1.5m of funding for tech to identify Midlands investment and regeneration opportunities

The Midlands Engine Partnership will receive up to £1.5 million of Government funding to pioneer cutting-edge technology which will identify the best investment and regeneration opportunities across the area.

The Midlands Engine, in collaboration with the Geospatial Commission, will use the funding to develop a digital map of the region combining vast amounts of existing public and private sector data linked to location – covering infrastructure, local services, housing and other developments.

Bringing this information together in one place for the first time will allow for better, faster and more informed decisions around health, education, housing, trade and tourism. Find out more

Image Courtesy of the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham named in world's Top 100 Global Universities

The university is 96th in the Top 100 Global Universities according to the US News Best Global Universities Ranking which measures the quality of academic research and reputation of over 1,250 institutions in 75 countries.

The University of Birmingham is already ranked 79th in the top 100 global universities in the 2019 QS World University Rankings, alongside other Midlands universities - the University of Warwick at 54th and the University of Nottingham at 82nd - and is also joint 116th globally in the Times Higher Educational ranking. It has now also achieved for the first time a top 100 position in the US News ranking, rising 11 places to 96th.

Earlier this year, the university was also named the 6th most innovative institution in the UK and 34th in Europe in the Reuters Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities. Find out more

Artist impression showing regeneration of the south of Coventry city centre.
Image courtesy of Coventry City Council

Coventry and Leicester named in UK Top Ten Cities report

According to the latest Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities 2018 index that ranks cities on a combination of economic performance and quality of life, cities in the Midlands were amongst the fastest improving for second year running, with Coventry ranked 8th and Leicester in 10th, and Birmingham named in the top ten most improved cities subindicies ranking.

This is the seventh annual Good Growth for Cities report which measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities against ten indicators formed by the views of the public as to what is key to economic success and wellbeing. Find out more
Click here to download the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities 2018 index.

Also in November, Leicester was named one of the best places in the UK to start a business according a Start-Up Britain report by Solopress. Find out more.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street testing a driverless car.
Image courtesy of WMCA

New multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre announced for Warwickshire & West Midlands

Europe’s first Smart City Mobility Centre will be based at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, with driverless capable vehicle testing on the university's campus in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The centre brings together Warwick Manufacturing Group's (WMG) research expertise and Jaguar Land Rover’s leading research and engineering capabilities. Together they will design and engineer connected, driverless capable, prototype electric vehicles.

The Midlands is at the forefront of driverless capable technology which will benefit the region and the whole UK. Find out more

Nottingham among 26 winning bids to receive national share of construction jobs and training fund

Government funding of £1 million has been given to Nottingham to get more people into construction training and jobs.

Partners in Nottingham have been given a share of £22 million of funding which will be used to launch construction academies with Nottingham College.These academies will bring training to construction sites – allowing learners to apply their knowledge in a real-world environment.

The Construction Skills Fund was launched in June by the Department for Education. It is anticipated that the fund will help meet the needs of employers and tackle the construction skills shortage, while also supporting those who want to join the industry. Find out more

Image Courtesy of West Midlands Growth Company

Masterplan for National Exhibition Centre unveiled

Ambitious plans for the development of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Solihull have been unveiled.

The plans for the site, also include the NEC's sister venue Genting Arena, Resorts World Birmingham and the recently-opened Merlin visitor attraction, Bear Grylls Adventure. Together they welcome over seven million visitors each year. 

The NEC Masterplan sets out significant growth opportunities through the redevelopment of 75 hectares of land by creating 315,000 square metres of new floorspace, up to 10,000 new jobs and 2,500 new homes. Find out more

Image courtesy of Midlands Connect

Midlands Connect calls for urgent action on A46

Midlands Connect has revealed a 20-year improvement plan for the A46. The plan outlines the potential £7.1 billion boost to the economy by taking a corridor-wide approach to improving one of the country's most important trade routes.

The pan-Midlands transport agency is calling for urgent co-ordinated action to improve traffic flows on the route.

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect, said: “Using today’s approach to funding, it could be 40 years before the A46 receives the investment it needs to match the growth in jobs and housing expected along the corridor. We must do things differently and accelerate a long-term investment plan to make sure economic growth isn’t held back.” Find out more

Image courtesy of East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport named best UK medium sized airport, as it releases jobs and training figures

East Midlands Airport (EMA) has been named ‘Best UK Airport’ for its size (3-10 million passengers) by the industry trade body, the Airport Operators Association (AOA).

The award recognises excellence and achievement across a whole range of areas and comes in the year that records were broken for the volume and value of the cargo EMA handles.

Just under five million passengers travel through EMA each year, while the airport handles 1000 tonnes a day of cargo with the value of non-EU goods being exported and imported through it every 12 months exceeding £10 billion. Find out more

The news comes as the airport announced the number of jobs and training it has supported in the last financial year, with over 6,500 people receiving training, employment or careers advice, and around 8,000 people employed across the airport site (land owned by the airport which includes the Pegasus Business Park). With a further 8000 jobs being made available at the neighbouring SEGRO Logistics Park (East Midlands Gateway). Find out more

More regional highlights

  • UK economy grows at fastest rate since late 2016 according to ONS. Read more
  • NASA to use technology developed by Coventry based Manufacturing Technology Centre. Read more 
  • World’s largest gas cylinder manufacturer invests £500,000 into Nottingham plant. Read more 
  • Next phase of £15million road improvement works set to start in Staffordshire. Read more
  • Loughborough University' s ground-breaking trial could revolutionise emergency response to disaster areas. Read more 
  • Work starts on £5.5m Coalville business park. Read more 
  • Netflix to significantly increase filming in Birmingham and region. Read more 
  • Nottingham equine supplies ecommerce company lands £375,000 MEIF investment. Read more 
  • Midlands Enterprise Universities to host regional digital technology conference. Read more 
  • Staffordshire skills boost revealed as near full employment continues. Read more 
  • Shadow Housing Minister visits Midland Heart. Read more  
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