Chamber of Commerce & FSB join entrepreneurs and employers to hear Conservative plans
Worcester’s Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Robin Walker, who served on the BIS

Select Committee through much of the last Parliament; today welcomed Business Minister, Matt

Hancock to Worcester to meet with local businesses and to hear how the next Government can

continue the progress on job creation and investment in skills.

He was hosted at the smart new St. Dunstan’s Skills Centre at the Heart of Worcestershire

College and welcomed by College Principal Stuart Laverick, who thanked him personally for the

investment that he had provided as Skills Minister in the Centre.

The politicians were joined by Mike Ashton, the CEO of the award winning Hereford and

Worcester Chamber of Commerce, Ken Wigfield from the FSB, Adrian Field of Worcester BID;

as well as a wide range of local businesses ranging from SME Solicitors, the Sales Performance

Company, who promote #worcestershirehour, Handelsbanken, cyber security business Borwell,

and large employers, such as Qinetiq and Worcester Bosch. The Business Development Lead

at the University of Worcester also attended.

 

There was widespread consensus that the Government’s investment in skills and

apprenticeships is both helping local businesses and raising standards in both apprenticeships

and postgraduate employment. The group also discussed how Government support could be

better targeted to SMEs to help them grow and the need to expand on the start-up loans

programme.

 

Robin was particularly pleased to see the businesses in agreement that schools and businesses

need to work more closely together and supportive of the drive to get better careers advice for

school age children.

 

After the roundtable discussion, Mr. Hancock joined Robin for a visit to local aerospace

manufacturer Aeromet, which is expanding its Blackpole business with help from the Regional

Growth Fund. The company won funding from Round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund back in

2011 that helped it create 20 high skilled jobs. It is now bidding for further growth funding from

Round 6. It will be expanding into a neighbouring site in Blackpole and has plans to triple its

turnover over the next few years, creating up to 70 new jobs in Worcester.

 

The Minister heard from CEO, Jeff Smith, and Operations Director, Simon Holliday, how the

company had already been helped by a wide range of Government initiatives ranging from the

Aerospace Growth Partnership, the expansion of export support through UKTI, R&D tax credits

as well as the RGF. Aeromet is the only foundry in Europe to be accredited by the US giant

Boeing and it also makes key parts for their main rival, Airbus. Its unique A20X aluminium alloy

of the future is a great British success story and the funding they have received from the

Government has helped to commercialise it and bring it to market.

 

Commenting on the visit, Robin said:

“The success of local businesses in Worcester in the last few years has been remarkable. With

a growing economy, more jobs, and rising pay, our businesses in Worcestershire have a

fantastic opportunity to improve on this so long as the recovery stays on track. I am hugely

proud that local businesses have more than doubled the number of apprenticeships they offer in

the last five years and helped to reduce unemployment by more than half, but I want to see

them able to achieve even more in the future. It was great to see Matt listening to their ideas

and concerns and setting out such a positive vision of what a Conservative Government can

achieve.”

 

“I was pleased to be able to raise with him my campaign to reform business rates in order to

make sure that these taxes are better designed to support business growth and to remove some

of the burden that has been placed on our high streets. I was also delighted to hear him speak

about the ‘Help to Grow’ scheme, which can help our SMEs to expand, and build on the huge

success of Start Up Loans in getting more small businesses started.”

 

“The icing on the cake was to be able to bring him to visit Aeromet: a brilliant advanced

manufacturer that is selling around the world from its small factory in Blackpole. It is

extraordinary how dynamic this company is and how rapidly it has been able to commercialise a

groundbreaking new product in the hugely competitive aerospace industry. It was brilliant to

hear of their plans for further expansion and I will certainly do all I can to ensure that these high

skilled jobs can be brought to Worcester. The range of different Government initiatives from

which they have benefited demonstrates the good work that this Government has been doing to

support manufacturing, R&D, and exports.”

 

“I am ambitious for Worcester and for Worcester businesses. I want the 10,000 apprenticeships

we achieved in 2014 to grow to 15,000 by 2020. I want to see more start-up’s, more growth

businesses, and closer links between education and business in the years to come. I want to

see more world class businesses such as Aeromet, growing investing and expanding in world

class Worcestershire.”

 

Notes to Editors

Robin Walker campaigned for the funding for Heart of Worcestershire College’s St. Dunstan’s

Skills Centre in an Adjournment Debate – the details of which are here:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130124/debtext/130124-

0004.htm#13012438001802

Information about the Heart of Worcestershire College can be found here:

http://www.howcollege.ac.uk/

And their announcement of the funding, which was followed up with a visit by Nick Boles in

September 2015, can be found here:

http://www.wortech.ac.uk/news/tabid/144/ctl/viewfullnews/newsindex/102/mid/605/selectmid/605

/default.aspx

Information about the businesses who joined the ‘round-table’ conference can be found here:

SME Solicitors: http://www.smesolicitors.co.uk/

FSB – Worcestershire Branch: http://www.fsb.org.uk/092/worcestershire

Worcester BID http://www.worcesterbid.com/

Borwell http://www.borwell.com/

Qinetiq https://www.qinetiq.com/Pages/default.aspx

Worcester Bosch https://www.worcester-bosch.co.uk/homeowner

Chamber of Commerce http://hwchamber.co.uk/

More information about Aeromet can be found here:

http://www.aeromet.co.uk/casting-division/

And the Government announcement of their RGF funding can be found here:

http://www.govopps.co.uk/regional-growth-fundget-grants-aeromet-1m/