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Where innovation fuels growth on track

13 December 2017

This year’s Annual General Meeting confirmed the continued strong track record of delivering growth for the SEMLEP area.

 Presenting at the AGM reception, hosted at Transport Systems Catapult in Milton Keynes on 7th December, “We do what we say we will do” was the overarching message from SEMLEP’s Chair Dr Ann Limb CBE DL.

 Ann outlined SEMLEP’s 2017 achievements including progress on a £265m Local Growth Fund investment portfolio, growing apprenticeship numbers and support provided to businesses through SEMLEP’s Growth Hubs.

Dr Ann Limb said, “We have a great reputation in Government for delivering for our businesses and local communities.” 

“We are progressing the Strategic Economic Plan, Where Innovation Fuels Growth which aims to double the size of the South East Midlands economy from a current £50bn by 2050. 

“Looking forward to 2018/19, SEMLEP will be working with partners to deliver the vision and opportunities for the Oxford – Milton Keynes – Cambridge Arc , and will lead on the area’s Local Industrial Strategy to be completed by Spring 2019.” 

Sponsored by CityFibre and joined by three guest speakers, the evening reception focussed  on digital technology and skills, and the pace of change in our economy brought about by the digital revolution.

With the UK already seeing more of its GDP traded online than any other country in the G20, Toby Hiles, Director of Strategic Development at Transport Systems Catapult talked about  how the UK is well-placed to “go after the global intelligent mobility market, predicted to be valued at £900bn per annum by 2025”.  

Toby spoke about the future of connected transport systems and the role that UK will have at the leading edge of data-driven transport innovation.

Outlining the capabilities that contribute to the UK’s Industrial Strategy, Toby said: “Here in the South East Midlands, we’re sitting at the heart of where innovation is and where major infrastructure is planned for the future.”

Jason Lancaster, Vice Principal Northampton College didn’t hold back about the scale of the digital skills challenge for our economy.  Jason said, “Whilst the picture in the South East Midlands is positive, a low proportion of the UK’s national working-age population has advanced ICT skills and this has a major impact on our productivity.”

Specifically looking at the digitisation of roles in different sectors, he referred to ‘Modernise or Die’ the 2016 Farmer review of UK construction Labour Market. Jason said. “We're looking at a much more engineering focus to construction.  People working in the sector have to be taken on the skills journey. 

“The technology is there but the construction sector is dominated by micro SMEs so getting it into these businesses is a challenge.

“Increasing digital skills of teachers and employers is key.” He added.

Providing the view from industry, Simon Reader, Engineering Director at MAHLE Powertrain, spoke about trends in engineering innovation in high efficiency powertrains and the potential the South East Midlands has as the UK’s hub for real world emissions development and testing.

Simon outlined the need for further skills development in high performance, low carbon technologies saying that open requisition for skilled jobs at MAHLE remains at 10%. 

Closing the AGM reception event, Chair Ann Limb thanked Stephen Catchpole for the work he did  successfully to merge Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership with SEMLEP and presented him with a gift to wish him well as he retires from SEMLEP as Chief Executive at the end of the year.

You can view the event’s presentation here



Top Left: Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair with Stephen Catchpole, Chief Executive SEMLEP

Top middle: Jason Lancaster, Vice Principal Northampton College, Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair SEMLEP, Simon Reader, Engineering Director at MAHLE Powertrain, Hilary Chipping, Deputy CEO, SEMLEP, Toby Hiles, Director of Strategic Development at Transport Systems Catapult

Top right: Linda Mccomie and Susan Popoola, Conning Towers Ltd

Middle left: Jason Lancaster, Vice Principal Northampton College, Simon Reader, Engineering Director at MAHLE Powertrain, and Paul Thompson, Employer and Skills Manager, SEMLEP

Middle middle: John Cove, MK Dons SET, Ian Revell, MK Community Foundation

Middle right: Stephen Catchpole, Chief Executive SEMLEP, Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair, Hilary Chipping, Deputy CEO, SEMLEP

Bottom left: Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair,

Bottom middle: Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair, Stephen Catchpole, Chief Executive SEMLEP,

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