Archive for March, 2018

Countdown on until Staffordshire Day

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

With just over a month to go to Staffordshire Day on 1 May, and more activities being added every day, the excitement is really starting to build.

This is our third Staffordshire Day and the extravaganza is set to take place over a week to give as many people as possible the chance to get involved.  Events already organised include the Staffordshire Plate Raceday at Uttoxeter Racecourse, and a new exhibition dedicated to Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Philip Astley, the Father of the Modern Circus.

As part of this year’s celebrations Enjoy Staffordshire are also coordinating the World’s Biggest Oatcake Morning.  Similar to Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, they are encouraging groups and charities  to get involved and put on their own oatcake morning fundraisers.  Many groups have already come forward but we want as many oatcake mornings going on across the county as possible, so I’d urge you to get in touch with the team

Staffordshire Day is a wonderful opportunity to shout about our great county and we are keen to get everyone involved, so make sure the date, 1 May 2018 is in your diary.  You can find out about events near you or advice on putting on your oatcake morning at www.enjoystaffordshire.com/staffordshireday

Still time to volunteer at this year’s UK Corporate Games

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

If you love your sports and would like to join in the action at Europe’s biggest sports event for business then now’s your chance.

Organisers of this year’s UK Corporate Games which return to the county for the second time, from 21 to 24 June are now offering individuals and sports clubs the opportunity to be a volunteer.

It’s a real coup getting the Games back for a second time and they give us a great opportunity to showcase the area’s huge investment potential to top UK businesses.  They are also expected to generate around £3million for the local economy which is also good for many of our local businesses.

The games will see over 4,000 amateur athletes battling it out in 23 sports from cricket to tennis, and football to dragon boat racing.  We also have over 1,000 employees from local Staffordshire companies taking part which is also great news.

Volunteers are needed for all the events and venues including Keele and Staffordshire Universities, Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Newcastle College, and Trentham Gardens.  Your duties  could include marshalling the events, meeting and greeting guests, and handing out refreshments.  If you’re interested you can find out more at www.corporate-games.com or call 01733 380888.

 

Showcasing Staffordshire’s investment potential and the Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Friday, March 16th, 2018

This week representatives from the County Council and our Local Enterprise Partnership are at a global property exhibition called MIPIM in Cannes, France. Here they will have the opportunity to showcase and market the many investment opportunities available in the county including the M54 Wolverhampton – Staffordshire High Growth Zone to world-wide investors.

The Growth Zone which will be one of the biggest in the UK consists of six sites with new high-value manufacturing, business and logistics investment opportunities next to the M54 and junctions 10a and 12 of the M6.  All of the sites within the zone complement each other and are already home to world-leading brands which are playing an important part in UK and our own regional growth.  The zone builds on the award-winning i54 South Staffordshire joint venture developed in 2012 which has already levered in millions of pounds of private investment.

Global events like MIPIM offer us a great opportunity to promote the huge investment potential in the area to the wider world, which will help to create thousands more quality jobs and ensure we have a skilled workforce to meet the needs of future business.

This week we also welcomed the Chancellor’s Spring Statement  which promised to review public spending, revalue business rates and promote house building.

We are all aware that more homes still need to be built in the right places to meet the needs of our growing population and help young people put a first step on their property ladder, and I welcome moves that support that growth. And at a time when we have fewer resources but are spending more money than ever before on helping the young, old and vulnerable, it is essential to review how local authorities are funded into the 2020s so that we can continue to focus on delivering value for money for our residents and businesses, while continuing to support residents to help one another within their communities.  It’s also encouraging to hear there may be more investment in public services like the NHS and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to get the maximum from our combined budget in real outcomes.

Staffordshire has come a long way over the last eight years, taking a balanced approach as we build an economy that works for everyone with a focus on creating the right conditions for businesses to prosper and create more, better paid jobs for residents.   This is why we have such low levels of unemployment in the county, which in turn should help us enjoy life and stay healthier and safe.

Welcoming calls for stronger planning reform

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Earlier this year, the Government pledged to re-write planning rules to help to speed up the building of more homes.  Cutting red tape, use land more efficiently, fast track planning permissions and putting local plans in place to give communities more control were all put forward.

We know that there is a national shortage of new homes.  And while we welcome the government’s proposals, which are definitely a step in the right direction to speed things up and ensure people can own their own home, the reforms needed to go further.   In addition, county councils needed to be given a greater role in creating the right conditions necessary to make it happen.

Like larger cities, we need to be able to take a more strategic overview to make sure the necessary infrastructure such as roads, surgeries and schools required for housing development are in place and funded in a more synchronised manner. The urgent delivery of more homes can be delivered by working ever more closely with our district and borough partners, who are responsible for planning control and ourselves as the county-wide lead for infrastructure.

I’ll continue to champion for change to speed up house-building, and in my role as Vice Chairman of the County Council Networks and their national spokesman on planning, housing and infrastructure, I will continue to lobby the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid to make the changes.

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week and looking ahead to the summer graduation

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

 

Apprentices Sasha & Nathan at 2017 Apprenticeship Gradation

We need to keep repeating that apprenticeships are an important part of bringing growth and prosperity for all of us in our county, and they are a great way to start a career for many of our young people.  This week is National Apprenticeship Week and a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the achievements of all our apprentices and the contributions they are making to the local economy.  It’s your week so enjoy it….

Last year over 9,000 people started an apprenticeship in Staffordshire, which is doubled that of five years ago.  Despite the increase though, we still need to create more opportunities to meet the demand from young people who are keen to work and learn and take the first step to a good career. More higher level apprenticeships are especially needed to increase higher skills levels and to meet demand for progression opportunities.  You can find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/apprenticeships.  There is also lots of advice and information on here for parents too on choosing the apprenticeship option.

Date for the diary! Later in the summer, we will also be hosting the fourth Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony which allows apprentices to graduate and puts apprenticeships on an equal footing with a university route to success.  It’s on Wednesday 18th July at the County Showground in Stafford and will give young people the chance to celebrate with their family and friends, as well as their training provider and employer.

There is still time to register which you can do at www.graduationceremony.co.uk.